It’s fair to say that the Giant Panda is our ‘spirit animal’.
As our company logo, he features on different packaging and many sock designs - as well as being embossed on our eco-friendly REPREVE belts. Never ones to deprive them of their food source – “pandas don’t eat Moso” bamboo – we’ve assembled five awesome facts about these fluffballs for 16th March – aka National Panda Day.
They Often Do Handstands
Bear with us here – pandas may not appear to be the most athletic of creatures. After all, they embody a picture of serene stillness and calm.
Yet, the males display some extraordinary handstand skills when they urinate. As pandas are usually solitary animals, you may well be thinking ‘why do they bother to strike this pose?’. Is it a misguided attempt at yoga?
It’s not an everyday occurrence – but instead at the start of their mating season. Warding off ‘the competition’, these advanced acrobatics helps their scent be found by female pandas. Who knew the simple handstand could contribute to the future of a species?
They Have Extra Digits
Another paw-some fact about pandas is that they have six digits on each hand. There are five fingers plus a “pseudo-thumb” that enables them to better grasp bamboo shoots – their primary food source. However, their ‘thumbs’ are not thumbs as we’d know them - but rather, oversized wrist bones.
Having a dozen ‘fingers’ on their front paws makes it much easier to eat their meal. It’s another reason why these monochrome bears are practically made to chomp on bamboo.
Speaking of which …
They’re Vegetarians ... Kinda
We’ve all seen pictures of some pretty chilled out pandas reclining on the forest floor whilst eating their beloved bamboo. And this incredibly fast-growing grass accounts for 99% of their diet today.
However, the ancestors of modern-day pandas were meat-eaters. They’re still classed as ‘carnivores’ and have a carnivore digestive system. So, even now, they’ll resort to eating rodents and pikas in the wild. Think of meat as their indulgent treat – it accounts for just 1% of what they eat.
They’re Tiny when Born
They usually grow to 1.2 to 1.5m too – meaning some mighty stocks of bamboo are needed for them to reach their adult weight of 75 to 135kg.
Some Great News …
In 2016, it was announced that the giant panda is now listed as ‘vulnerable’ rather than ‘endangered’. The number of wild pandas in China had increased to 1,800. This rise follows proactive conservation efforts and special reforesting ‘wildlife corridors’ with bamboo – their favourite food as we’ve already seen.
There’s still work to do – but it’s promising given The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s downgrading of their threat of extinction. We hope our ‘spirit animal’ will continue to thrive in the decades to come.
Avoid the panda-monium of last-minute gift shopping - or show your love for these charismatic fluffballs by browsing our online shop. Our collection includes men’s and women’s panda socks – or you may prefer our ladies' limited edition skiing panda socks.