Can Giant Pandas Climb Trees?


Giant pandas are cute and chubby animals that are admired by everyone. Looking at their large size, it’s difficult to determine whether or not giant pandas can climb. If you love giant pandas, you might be wondering, can giant pandas climb trees? 

The answer is yes! Giant pandas can climb trees despite their large size. In fact, pandas love climbing trees and they don’t have any difficulty in climbing them. You would be surprised to know that giant panda cubs start climbing trees when they are only six months old. 

Now that you know that giant pandas can climb trees, you might be wondering why they climb trees. There are various reasons behind giant pandas climbing trees. To get your answer, continue reading this blog! 

Why Do Pandas Climb Trees?

Are you curious to know why pandas climb trees? Well, there are many reasons for which pandas climb trees. Let’s have a look at some of the major reasons! 

To Save Themselves from their Enemies

Giant pandas have some predators like wild dogs, snow leopards, jackals, etc. To escape their enemies and to prevent themselves from being attacked, giant pandas use their quick climbing skills. According to WWF, giant pandas are excellent climbers and many start climbing at a young age to save themselves from danger. 

Just for Fun

Giant pandas, especially panda cubs, climb trees for fun. For them, climbing trees and jumping from them is a great fun activity. If you are a panda fan, you might have seen panda cubs getting on the top of trees just to come down again for enjoyment. 

To Relax

A picture of giant panda relaxing on a tree

Pandas also climb trees to relax on them. You might be aware that pandas are lazy animals and they love eating bamboo and sleeping. As a result, seeing a panda taking a nap on a tree trunk is not something unusual. They can easily sleep on trees without worrying about wild dogs and their other enemies.

To Eat Leaves 

Pandas mainly survive on bamboo, leaves, and plants. Therefore, pandas also climb trees to find food. Depending on different seasons, pandas climb high and low trees to search for food for themselves and their cubs. 

To Seek Shelter

Another reason for climbing trees is to seek shelter in trees. Pandas usually live in hollowed-out tree trunks to protect themselves from rain, sun, and snow. Female pandas use tree trunks as their maternity dens. Even after giving birth to their babies, female pandas remain in the trunk with their cubs to protect them from any possible danger. 

Now that you know the different reasons for which pandas climb trees, you might be thinking how high can pandas climb trees. Let’s find out the answer to this question in the next section. 

To Kill Boredom

Giant pandas are not sociable animals. They prefer spending time alone. Therefore, it’s hard to see pandas in groups, unlike other animals. As a result, pandas prefer solitary activities like swimming and climbing to kill their boredom. 

According to the BBC, pandas use trees as swings, do somersaults, stretch themselves, and do handstands on trees to keep themselves entertained. They love playing by themselves and climbing trees is also like a game for them. 

For Courtship

A picture showing giant pandas climbed on a tree for courtship

It has been found that male pandas climb trees to propose to female pandas. Climbing for courtship usually occurs when a panda becomes an adult and feels the urge to mate with a female panda. While females become adults around the age of 5, male pandas reach their adulthood near the age of 7. 

Females near ovulation usually remain hanging on the trees while males wait for them to come down. However, in cases where females don’t come down, male pandas climb the trees themselves to show their love for their female counterparts. 

How High Can Panda Bears Climb?

Pandas can climb quite high without any difficulty. According to National Geographic Kids, pandas can climb as high as 13,000 feet. Isn’t it unbelievable?  Pandas also love climbing as high as they can and doing handstands on high trees for relaxing. 

Why are Pandas Good at Climbing Trees?

Looking at the short limbs and round bodies of pandas, it’s hard to digest that pandas are good at climbing. However, pandas are good climbers because they use their heads as extra limbs to climb trees.  According to IFL Science, pandas developed good climbing skills for better survival in the wild. 

As per the research done by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to study the climbing habits of giant pandas, not all pandas are good at climbing. Rather, only the pandas who know how to use their heads are good at climbing trees. 

How Do Pandas Climb So Good?

It’s with their large head that a giant panda is able to climb so well. Pandas use their limbs, claws, and fingernails for clinging to tree trunks. Once they firmly hold the tree trunk, they use their big heads and press them against the tree trunk again and again to climb a tree. 

In climbing trees, the head of a giant panda serves the function of an extra paw and this is how they are able to climb as high as 13,000 feet. 

Can Giant Pandas Climb Trees During the Day?

Yes, giant pandas can climb trees during the day. However, pandas are not able to see clearly during the day which can pose a problem for them in climbing trees. Moreover, pandas spend most of their day eating and sleeping. 

Therefore, it’s usually when they are hungry or need to search for food or to escape their enemies, they prefer climbing trees during the day. 

However, most pandas love sleeping peacefully without any disturbance or any danger from their predators. Therefore, nothing can stop them if they want to have an afternoon nap on trees. 

Can Giant Pandas Climb Trees at Night?

Yes, giant pandas can climb trees at night. Giant pandas are most active during the night, especially during the twilight hours. Moreover, pandas can clearly see at night which makes it possible for them to climb at night. 

Can Giant Pandas Climb Trees 7 Times?

Yes, in fact, pandas can climb trees as many times as they want. However, they need to have enough energy to climb a tree seven times. 

Panda cubs are more active climbers and they love climbing and coming down trees again and again for fun. Hence for panda cubs, climbing trees seven times in a row is not a big deal as they have enough energy. 

However, adult pandas could find it difficult to climb trees 7 times because they lack energy and also because pandas are lazy by nature. Nonetheless, if they sense some danger, they can quickly climb to a nearby tree without taking much time. However, they need to have that push to climb trees with such frequency. 

Can Red Pandas Climb Trees?

Yes, red pandas are well-adapted to climb trees. In fact, red pandas spend most of their time on trees to keep them safe from their predators. Red pandas can climb trees between the ranges of 6000-12000 feet. Their thumb-like wrist bone gives them an extra grip while climbing trees, besides their flexible ankles.

Moreover, red pandas are also known for playing hide and seek in trees. No doubt red pandas are so adorable and cute. From searching for food to keep themselves away from danger, red pandas know pretty well how to survive in the woods. Moreover, just like giant pandas, red pandas also have bodily features that help them climb trees. 

A picture showing red panda climbing tree

According to ThoughtCo, Red pandas have a “false thumb extending from its wrist bone that aids in climbing. The red panda is one of only a few species able to rotate its ankles to control a head-first descent from a tree.” 

Besides having false thumbs, red pandas have long tails and razor-sharp claws for climbing trees. Moreover, they are smaller in size as compared to giant pandas, and hence, climbing is not that tough for them. 

Conclusion

In this blog, we have learned that giant pandas are good climbers despite their body weight and size. It’s difficult to believe that pandas being so huge and round are able to climb trees. Nonetheless, pandas have adapted skills like climbing, swimming, and running over the years to escape their predators and live in the wild. 

Despite escaping their enemies, climbing is also a fun sport for pandas, especially their cubs who love going up and coming down the trees. Moreover, climbing also helps them to search for food, seek shelter and have a relaxing time on trees. 

To familiarize yourself with other interesting facts related to pandas and their climbing habits, this bog is a great place to get started!