Panda Updates – Wednesday, September 29
A question we get asked often is whether a giant panda’s fur is as soft as it looks. Now, as the temperatures are beginning to cool down and we have had quite a bit of rain recently in Georgia, I thought it would be the perfect time to answer that question, as their fur aids them in both of those categories. Before I get into this topic, I would like to point out that we do not ever “pet” the pandas. The only times we touch them are between a protective barrier during training scenarios, when the pandas are voluntarily participating in a positive reinforcement training session. This means they are allowing us to touch them in order for us to take a look at some part of their bodies through training. They do this by pressing their body against the barrier, so we do not have to reach into their space to touch them.
With that being said, the answer is no; giant pandas are actually not very soft at all! Their fur is very dense and wooly. It is also coarse and has a bit of an oily quality to allow for moisture wicking. It is very similar in texture to sheep’s wool. Their native habitats in China are cool, moist mountain forests in high elevations. All these qualities of their fur help protect them from those elements and keep them warm and dry.
Speaking of fur (or lack thereof!), enjoy the throwback photo from way back in September 2016, when getting their characteristic fur was still a future milestone for the twins!
Keeper I, Mammals