It looks to be an obvious question: Why Are pandas bears? But actually, it is anything but a dumb question, as much as bears move, pandas are somewhat…odd. And I am not only speaking about their world-famous white and black patterns. Pandas are just about the smallest bear-like bears in the world.

How Do You Not Love This Panda Face?

The panda has the exact same general body shape as other bears, but that is about where the similarities end. There is the clear white and black pattern (thought to function as camouflage in the snowy, sun-dappled woods of its residence ) to help set it apart, but there is also an extremely strange appendage on all its front paws.

It resembles a criticism, but it is not. Pandas have two, one, three, Four, five…six palms? Well, not precisely. The sixth”digit” is really a modified sesamoid bone, but it behaves more or less like a thumb–ideal for holding on a panda’s favorite food: bamboo.

Unlike most of the other bears, that are omnivorous and consume both meat Even though they have been seen eating little animals, the huge majority of a panda’s diet stems from bamboo. In other words, in a word, maybe not quite bear-like.

In fact, pandas are among the only members of the order Carnivora, such as cats, puppies , bears, etc., which do not actually eat meat. And, because bears are carnivores, making a panda’s bambooivore diet a small problem.

Despite ingesting so much bamboo, a panda’s digestive tract is actually, Really bad in digesting the material. That means that they get hardly any protein or energy in their diet. But do not worry, pandas have a solution: As they can not get caliber, they opt for quantity.

To compensate for bamboo’s lack of nourishment, pandas eat a great deal of it. Lots A good deal of it. As up to 84 lbs each day. Setting up inside their familiar relaxed sitting position, pandas place those exceptional”thumbs” to function to grasp and then eat bamboo shoots. But even with these handy-dandy first time digits, they nevertheless need to sit for as many as 12 hours per day simply to get enough nourishment.

And that eating means a great deal of pooping. As much as 40 times per day. (I only knew you were going to inquire ).

However, despite their Distinctive appearance and their eccentric, nigh-inexplicable Diet, pandas are nevertheless conveys. Red pandas could have similar markings in their face, and folks did really think they were little bears for several decades, but recent studies have shown that they are not really closely related to bears.

Instead, red pandas are closely associated with weasels, skunks, and raccoons. The aesthetic similarities between them and routine pandas (often referred to as giant pandas to differentiate the two) are a pity. Got that?