JUL 10, 2015 9:30 AM PDT

Have You Ever Wondered Why Giant Pandas Can Survive on Just Bamboo?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Every time you see a giant panda, it seems like it's either sleeping or it has a stick of bamboo in its hands that it's in the middle of devouring. It's no secret that giant pandas like bamboo; in fact, it's their main dish.

But why do they have a thing for bamboo? Scientists have long scratched their heads at why giant pandas have a liking for the low-nutrient plant, but it may finally make sense in a new research study.

Here are some giant pandas snacking on bamboo.

Since bamboo isn't very nutrient-rich, it means that a giant panda doesn't get a lot of energy from the meal. As new research suggests, this is perfectly fine for a giant panda, because they're incredibly lazy animals that sleep most of the day and hardly exert any energy; since they hardly do anything, additional energy from other food sources isn't particularly necessary.

So just how lazy are they?

As a part of a science experiment, scientists attached GPS devices to the animals to track their movements throughout the day and examined the chemical makeup of the animals' feces to determine how much energy they were actually exerting in a day.

It was found that the animals only exerted about 38% of the energy that other animals in the giant panda's size group normally would, so they're almost two-thirds lazier than animals of comparable size.

"Pandas save a lot of energy by being frugal with the energy they spend on physical activity," said professor John Speakman from the University of Aberdeen and Chinese Academy of Sciences. "However, it is not only their low activity that contributes to their low metabolism; the metabolic rate of an active panda is still lower than a completely stationary human."

The giant panda's lazy and slow energy efficient lifestyle combined with tiny energy efficient organs and a low metabolism that's even lower than the metabolism of a completely at-rest human, means that a giant panda is a very energy efficient animal capable of surviving on bamboo.

Giant pandas are typically found in China, where they are known as an endangered species. There are anywhere from 1,000-3,000 giant pandas known to exist in the wild.

Source: BBC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Is a Supernova to Blame for the Devonian Extinction Event?
AUG 26, 2020
Is a Supernova to Blame for the Devonian Extinction Event?
Over the roughly 4.5 billion years of Earth's existence, there have been several periods were biodiversity has been near ...
AUG 28, 2020
Plants & Animals
Will Traps Solve the Invasive Lionfish Problem?
AUG 28, 2020
Will Traps Solve the Invasive Lionfish Problem?
Extravagant and spiny lionfish were once highly sought after by home aquarium hobbyists. These venomous fish are native ...
NOV 23, 2020
Plants & Animals
Can Kelp Help Reduce Acidification in the Ocean?
NOV 23, 2020
Can Kelp Help Reduce Acidification in the Ocean?
Our oceans are becoming more acidic; their pH is going down as they absorb CO2 from Earth's atmosphere. It's thought tha ...
NOV 21, 2020
Earth & The Environment
The first ever global bee diversity map
NOV 21, 2020
The first ever global bee diversity map
A study reported in the journal Current Biology showcases the first global map of bee diversity. Designed by a coll ...
DEC 29, 2020
Plants & Animals
Unique Plumage Found on a Dinosaur Fossil
DEC 29, 2020
Unique Plumage Found on a Dinosaur Fossil
Many species of birds display spectacular patterns and colors in their feathers. Now scientists have found that these fe ...
JAN 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
San Diego Zoo's Gorillas Positive for COVID-19
JAN 13, 2021
San Diego Zoo's Gorillas Positive for COVID-19
Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive ...
Loading Comments...