In the wild giant pandas fall asleep in any number of places, they don’t have to be too picky as they don’t have any natural predators to worry about.
Most will opt to sleep right on the forest floor, perhaps cozying up to a tree or some other large natural feature. Giant pandas are strong climbers and have also been spotted taking the occasional nap precariously balanced in a tree!
In captivity there’s even less for a panda to worry about, so they’ll be found taking naps all over their enclosures. They’re not overly private or fussy and often can be seen falling asleep mid bamboo binge.
Do pandas sleep up trees?
There are some great photos of even full grown adult pandas taking naps in the branches. Pandas are incredible climbers and even though they don’t always have the most balance and grace they’re very comfortable up in the trees.
They don’t need to sleep in trees for protection, but sometimes it seems they get a little sleepy halfway through a particularly tiring climb!
Do pandas have dens?
Unlike some other bears and plenty of other animals, pandas don’t build or create dens to live in or to house their young in.
Pandas don’t have any natural predators themselves and don’t have to worry about too many threats to their cubs, so they’re happy to live and sleep out in the open.
Although their dense forest homes aren’t all that open to begin with and it’s thought their black and white fur offers effective camouflage in the dense greenery.
How much do pandas sleep?
Pandas spend the majority of their day munching away on bamboo, but for the remainder of the time they are usually resting or sleeping.
In the wild they have been observed to sleep in stints 2 to 4 hours long and in between meals. In captivity pandas are fed to a similar schedule to help mimic their natural rhythms of rest and activity.
So, in the course of a typical day, pandas might sleep for anywhere from 6 to 10 hours (they spend A LOT of time eating bamboo, trust us).
What about panda cubs?
Mothers keep their cubs close by whenever possible for the first few years of their lives and this is certainly the case when everyone settles down for bed.
Cubs can often be spotted nestled in their mother’s arms and fur or lying right alongside mum wherever there might be space.
Do pandas sleep in groups?
Pandas can be quite solitary during the day and bedtime is no different, they prefer to sleep alone.
Female pandas will make an exception when they have very young cubs, but young pandas generally find their own space to sleep before the age of two.
Do giant pandas hibernate?
Unlike other bears, pandas don’t hibernate at any time of year, either in the wild or while in captivity.
Scientists think this is mainly because pandas’ bamboo rich diet means they can’t build up enough fat stores. Without extra body fat, the panda can’t afford to sleep for a whole winter!
Do pandas ever use blankets or beds?
Even in captivity there’s no evidence of pandas preferring comfortable beds (like a pet dog might seem to). Pandas are pretty happy curled up on a hard floor or even in the branches of a tree, so they’re not too fussy about comfort.
We think the idea of a panda snuggled up with a blanket and their very own panda plush is adorable though, so we’re hoping zoos continue to try and make progress in this important area of research.
Strike a pose
Like most of the bear family, pandas are able to get comfortable in quite a few different positions.
It’s not difficult to find pandas lying on their backs, sides or stomachs when stretching out for some quality zzz’s.
We suppose getting comfortable is a bit easier when you’re covered in fur!