Do Pandas Hibernate?


The short answer

The slightly unexpected answer is no, they do not.

Unlike the rest of the bear family, the giant panda doesn’t hibernate at all during the winter months. This is especially strange when you consider that giant pandas have one of the coldest habitats of all the bears.

 

Do Pandas Hibernate - Panda in Mountains

 

So why don’t pandas hibernate?

The simple answer is food. The giant panda’s diet is almost entirely comprised of bamboo, a tough and chewy plant which provides zero fat. This means that the giant panda’s diet is almost completely fat free.

Despite very cuddly appearances, this means that the panda finds it nearly impossible to store body fat. Storing fat is essential for hibernation as it’s the only way an animal can survive long periods of not eating whilst they are asleep or resting.

If you want to learn more about the giant panda’s bamboo heavy diet you can here (did you know they eat over twenty pounds of bamboo A DAY).

Although pandas don’t hibernate they do migrate (a very short distance!) with the changing seasons. Wild giant pandas have been observed to move to lower elevations in the winter (as low as 4000ft) to help fight off the cold, roaming back up to 11,000ft during the warmer summer months.