Panda Updates – Wednesday, December 18
Giant pandas, along with several other animals here at the Zoo, are a solitary species. This means that they don’t generally spend time with other members of the same species unless it is for a breeding interaction or a mother raising her young. Due to their solitary nature, pandas must rely heavily on their olfactory (smelling) capabilities to locate and communicate with other pandas and find suitable mates during breeding season. They can communicate several things through chemical signals in their urine and secretions from the scent gland at the base of their tails, which both males and females have. They have very large olfactory regions in their brains and can determine things such as identity, sex, receptivity to breeding, and overall general health just by smelling the scent-mark or urine of another giant panda. This incredible sense of smell is also what helps them detect the most nutritious pieces of bamboo to consume.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)