Panda bears are native to South Central China, but they have been introduced to many other parts of the world. There are 1800 pandas in the wild and about 500 pandas in captivity.
They are a protected species. Chinese law protects it as a “first-class protected species.”
Pandas are dangerous to humans despite their fluffy appearance. They have sharp teeth and claws and are more powerful than most men. Pandas rarely attack humans. However, when they do, they are usually vicious.
Are Pandas Dangerous to Humans?
Pandas are adorable animals. They are known for their cuddly appearance. We just feel the urge to run up and hug them. They look perfectly harmless as they are often seen just lounging about chomping on bamboo. However, Giant Pandas can be dangerous to humans.
Giant Pandas should be treated with the same caution we treat any other bear. They are wild animals with basic instincts. Though panda bear attacks on humans are rare, they do happen. Surprisingly, more so by captive pandas than the wild panda.
Wild pandas live in such remote areas that they rarely have accidental contact with humans in their natural habitat. Pandas eat a lot of bamboo stalks, which gives them extremely sharp teeth and strong jaws. This gives them a powerful bite that is extremely dangerous to humans.
In fact, a giant panda has a bite force only slightly less dangerous than a grizzly bear or tiger. Grabbing for the bamboo also gives them very sharp claws, adding to the danger if humans come in contact.
The good news is that pandas are only dangerous if they feel threatened, you annoy them, or they think you mean harm to a baby panda. So be nice and keep your distance.
Are Pandas Aggressive Animals?
Pandas are not typically aggressive animals. Aggression is not in their nature. That’s not to say they will not become aggressive if you try them! Giant Pandas are solitary animals. They don’t really care about anyone’s company. Not even other pandas.
They mind their business and expect everyone else to mind theirs. They’re perfectly happy to hang in a tree, eat, and sleep. However, if a fellow animal or human irritates, scares, or threatens them, they will fight back. This is true for both the wild panda and the captive panda.
Just because they are in a zoo does not mean they are magically tamed. So, even though their cuteness makes it tempting, do not mess with a panda. They have no problem becoming aggressive when bothered.
What are the Dangers of Coming in Contact with a Panda?
There are many dangers to coming in contact with a panda. While attacks on the human species are rare, the consequences can be severe. One example is a man who fell into a Giant Panda pit while visiting a zoo in China.
The panda, of course, felt threatened by the stranger, grabbed him, and bit through his calf. The man required surgery on his bone and muscle tissue. He also needed a skin graft and physical therapy. Another incident occurred at the same zoo just months later.
A man, again, fell accidentally into the panda’s house. The panda attacked. He bit off one of the man’s feet and an elbow joint.
He, too, required an extensive hospital stay. In perhaps the worst case, a conservation worker was helping to return a giant panda to the wilderness. The vicious attack would last for 5 minutes. The bear dragged the man and shook him like a rag doll. All the while biting and clawing at him.
By the end of the attack, the man was left with a missing hand, 2 broken wrists, and torn tendons throughout his body. He required a complete blood transfusion fusion, reconstructive surgery, and many hours of rehabilitation.
A panda bear is also capable of swiping you hard enough to cause a serious head injury or internal injuries. Their claws are sharp enough to cause serious bleeding and scarring. Aside from these dire consequences, pandas can also carry fleas, ticks, parasites, and mites. Who wants that?!
What Effect Does a Panda’s Diet have on its Aggression?
The short answer is none. A Giant Panda’s diet does not make them any more or less aggressive than they normally may be. However, it really is a wonder, given their diet ( 90% bamboo), that they aren’t more aggressive. Pandas are actually natural carnivores.
It is believed that they switched to bamboo about 2.4 million years ago. Some scientists believe it’s simply because they didn’t want to fight over prey with other animals. There is also a theory that there was a gene mutation that caused them to lose their taste for meat.
Either way, surviving strictly on one plant would probably irritate most other animals. Add to that. Pandas have to work hard to get their daily nutritional balance of bamboo. They must forage through the bamboo forest to find their needed 20-40 pounds a day.
They must also seek out different types of bamboo during the mating season. Certain bamboo contains more minerals that are needed for fertilization. The only time their diet may make them aggressive is when they rarely get a hankering for a small rodent snack.
That aside. Their diet does not make them aggressive.
Do Pandas Harm the Environment?
Panda bears do not harm the environment. In fact, they are a great help to the ecosystem in which they live. Pandas get a lot of seeds and plant matter stuck in their fur. As they roam around, swim, and climb trees, they spread the seeds and matter all around.
This helps more plants to grow in the bamboo forests. They are known as an umbrella species. This means that they are a protected species. Therefore, their habitat is protected, and all other animals that live in their habitat are protected.
This is called the umbrella effect. Giant Pandas also carry parasites. While this isn’t always good for the panda, it’s actually good for the environment. When the parasite is expelled with plant waste, it acts as needed food for other insects and small rodents. Unfortunately, the changing environment seems to be harming the panda.
The wild panda has always lived at elevations that were too high for farming. Now, with rising temperatures, the land in the panda’s habitat is becoming more valuable. Making their habitat endangered. The rising temperatures are also affecting their food source in the bamboo forest.
What Should You Do if You’re Attacked by a Panda?
There really is not much to do if a panda attacks you. Luckily, the chances are quite slim that it will ever happen. However, should you ever have the misfortune, it’s best to play dead!
Try to lie on your belly and cover your head and neck. Squeeze your eyes shut. Do your best not to make noise. The panda may pummel, claw, and even bite you. The good news is the panda will not eat you. He will stop once he feels you are no longer a threat.
Are Pandas Dangerous to Other Animals?
For the most part, pandas are not a danger to other animals. They do occasionally like to supplement their diet of bamboo with small rodents. Animals like the pica (a rabbit-like mammal) and mice do fall prey to the panda from time to time.
The only other time a panda will attack another animal is if its cubs are in danger. Panda cubs are often the targets of large birds and leopards in the wild. So a mother panda will do what she has to do to protect her baby. They do not attack larger animals for food or recreation.
How Can You Tell if a Panda is About to Attack?
Various things may happen. The panda may yawn or click its teeth. They may pound on the ground or make sounds. Growling, huffing, and yowling are a sure sign of an impending attack. Their ears will go back, and their head will go down. If you encounter a panda and you feel it may be about to attack, slowly back away.
Do not make eye contact but speak to it, so it knows you are not another animal. This will make it feel less threatened.
How Dangerous Are Panda Bears Compared to Other Bears?
Simply put, a panda bear is a bear. All bears have a level of danger to them. However, a panda bear will not hunt you down, kill you, or eat you like a polar bear. They will not maul you over a picnic basket like a grizzly.
They are much smaller and slower than other bears, so you have a better chance of getting away. They do place 3rd in bite strength among bears. Coming in just slightly less dangerous than the polar bear and grizzly. Surprisingly, they are more dangerous than the black bear that usually runs from humans.
Despite their cuddly appearance, only the Sun bear and the Polar bear are more aggressive than the panda if threatened or annoyed.