Panda Updates- Monday, December 4
Hello! This is Nicole from the Panda Care Team. With Thanksgiving having happened recently, and with the holiday season underway, now’s a great time to talk about how our Panda Care Team provides the same care and enrichment for the giant pandas on holidays as we would on any other day of the year. Regardless of whether or not it’s a holiday or regardless of whether or not the Zoo is open, our team is still here to ensure the pandas’ daily routine is met. First, we weigh the pandas and then clean each habitat or dayroom that they will be using. Then, we shift over to weighing out their daily bamboo, providing enrichment, and in the afternoon, shifting them back into their indoor areas for weights. We also ensure that their night areas are set with plenty more bamboo and leafeater biscuits.
Did you know that giant pandas will spend around half of their lifetimes eating bamboo? Their digestive tracts are the same as a carnivore, and as a result of this, they only digest around 20% of the bamboo they eat. This means that they must consume around 15% of their body weight per day in bamboo. They’re also very well-adapted for eating bamboo. Pandas have broad and flat molars that help them crush bamboo stems, shoots, and leaves. Pandas have the jaw strength to chomp bamboo that is over an inch thick, thanks to jaw muscles that wrap around to the top of their heads and attach on the sagittal crest, a ridge bone that runs lengthwise down the top of the skull. This is the anchor point for their lower jaw muscles. The larger the crest, the more powerful the jaws. The giant panda has a very large sagittal crest, providing the strength needed to crush and eat bamboo. (Pictured: Xi Lun)
Panda Care Team