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This nOde last updated December 17th, 2004 and is permanently morphing...
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1. A rare, bearlike mammal (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) of the mountains of China and Tibet (Xizang), having woolly fur with distinctive black and white markings. Also called giant panda, panda bear.
2. A small, raccoonlike mammal (Ailurus fulgens) of northeast Asia, having reddish fur, white face markings, and a long ringed tail. Also called lesser panda, red panda.
[French, perhaps of Nepalese origin.]
panda (pàn´de), two nocturnal Asian MAMMALS, the red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). The red panda, or lesser panda, resembles a RACCOON and is found in the Himalayas and the mountains of W China and N Myanmar. The giant panda resembles a BEAR, although it is anatomically more like a raccoon; it lives in the high bamboo forests of central China. Its body is mostly white, with black limbs, ears, and eye patches; adults weight from 200 to 300 lb (90 to 140 kg). Low reproduction rates and human encroachment on its habitat have seriously endangered the giant panda.
PANDA The best known of endangered species, they are often called "bears" but actually belong to a family of their own, closely allied to racoons. The panda has the digestive system of a carnivore, but long ago adapted to a vegetarian diet and now feeds almost exclusively on the stems and leaves of bamboo. Panda cubs weigh only 90g at birth. Fully grown pandas weigh 100kg, and live 10 to 15 years.
Panda Cam at the San Diego Zoo