Q:

Why do pandas eat bamboo?

A:

Quick Answer

Pandas eat bamboo because they have evolved to do so. Experts believe pandas eat bamboo because pandas are unskilled hunters that prefer bamboo due to the fact that it is readily available year-round. After thousands of years eating bamboo, pandas have developed a liking for it and prefer it to meat.

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Why do pandas eat bamboo?
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Full Answer

Experts agree that pandas are the descendants of carnivores with a digestive track fit for digesting meat, however pandas simply prefer bamboo. This is not to say that pandas never eat meat. According to How It Works, pandas eat meat occasionally when it is offered. The World Wide Fund for Nature or WWF, states that pandas sometimes hunt for pikas and rodents. According to the WWF, however, only 1 percent of the panda’s diet comes from meat and plants other than bamboo.

Another reason why it is curious that pandas eat bamboo is because bamboo does not digest well. Pandas lack the digestive enzymes and bacteria needed to digest the cellulose prevalent in bamboo and other plant matter, and as a result, pandas absorb few nutrients from bamboo. Since pandas are only able to absorb about 20 percent of its nutrients from a bamboo meal, they must eat large amounts to garner enough nutrients. According to the WWF, pandas must eat approximately 12 to 38 kilograms of bamboo every day to absorb the nutrients they need. For these reasons, experts believe evolution must have favored pandas that ate bamboo instead of meat. In other words, the bamboo-eating pandas survived.

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Related Questions

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    What do pandas eat besides bamboo?

    A:

    In the wild, 99 percent of a panda's diet consists of leaves, stems and shoots of the bamboo plant, while the remainder is made up of flowers, vines, grasses, green corn, honey and small rodents. Pandas in captivity are fed bamboo, sugar cane, rice gruel, carrots, apples and sweet potatoes.

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    What do pandas eat besides bamboo shoots?

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    Pandas eat various plants, insects, grubs and occasionally meat from small mammals in addition to bamboo. Bamboo consists of 99 percent of a panda's diet in the wild, and they only gain nutrients from other sources 1 percent of the time.

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    What do baby pandas eat?

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    Baby pandas are nursed by their mothers for the first eight to nine months of life. They start eating solid foods, such as bamboo, when they reach 6 months of age.

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    Why are pandas important?

    A:

    To save the panda from extinction, the rich biodiversity such as plants, landscapes and other animals that surround the pandas must also be preserved, as it is necessary for their survival. The removal of any species has dramatic consequences for those that remain. Pandas also economically benefit their local communities.

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