Can Giant Pandas Eat Chocolate?

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Apart from the “regular” bamboo diet that pandas spend their day eating, they enjoy other diets too. Do not be surprised that pandas can eat carrots, potatoes, bread, and other delicious foods. There’s a chance that you might be thinking, can pandas eat chocolate?

The simple answer is YES, giant pandas can eat chocolate, just like humans. In addition to their bamboo diet, pandas also enjoy sweet diets. So, you’re free to feed these panda bears chocolates when necessary, but only in small quantities for good health. 

While you are planning on throwing chocolates to the next panda you see, there are important factors you should consider. But come to think of it, can red pandas also eat chocolates? I believe you’ll want to know this too.

 Just make yourself comfortable and let’s learn something new together!

Can Red Pandas Eat Chocolate?

Red Panda Thinking of Eating Chocolates

Yes, red pandas can eat chocolate like humans. Research has shown that not all animals can enjoy sugary foods. But red pandas are among the animals that eat sugary diets such as chocolates. 

Most of the people I’ve come across love the color and rich taste of chocolates. What’s there not to like about it? However, you should note that some animals, such as cats, cannot taste the sweetness of the candy. 

According to researchers, animals that cannot taste sweetness have a defect in one of their genes that affects their tongues. Luckily for red pandas, they can eat chocolates and other sweet foods, thereby deriving benefits from them.

Similar to giant pandas, red pandas love eating bamboo; that’s their favorite food. Anyway, including chocolates in their “strange” bamboo diet wouldn’t be a bad idea. 

Can Pandas Eat Chocolate In the Wild?

In theory, yes, a panda can eat chocolate in the wild assuming that’s the only option left.But it’s more likely that they would prefer eating bamboo over chocolate since they are more familiar with it.

In the wild, pandas’ diet consists primarily of bamboo, leaves, grass, mice, small birds, and other natural diets.Without leaving their immediate environment, pandas can survive on the diets listed above conveniently. 

Nature has a way of allowing all living beings to survive in their habitat by providing everything they need. 

My point is that chocolates are not available in the bamboo forest, where pandas live. However, if they are in captivity, they can eat chocolates.

When Can Pandas Eat Chocolates in the Wild? 

Anytime, as long as chocolates are available to eat. But keep in mind that, there is no other way for giant pandas and red pandas to eat chocolates in the wild, except if someone presents the sweet candy to them.

Without anyone bringing chocolates,, pandas will regularly eat bamboo and other natural foods.

Once in a while, some researchers visit the mountainous regions in Central China to observe the pandas in the environment. Also, the people who live closer to the pandas’ territory can take a walk to their habitat. During one of these visits, one or more persons can go along with some chocolates as a gift for the pandas.

This way, giant pandas and red pandas can enjoy the sweetness and nutritional benefits of chocolates. 

Can Pandas Eat Chocolates at Night?

Yes, pandas can eat chocolate at night. Giant pandas, for example, are usually active at night. Although these panda bears spend all day eating bamboo and sleeping, they also eat at night.

Same as the other nocturnal animals, pandas have vertical slit-shaped pupils that allow them to see well at night. Also, these animals have a high sense of smell that helps them attract the opposite sex. 

Fortunately, their eyes and nose help these pandas to know when food is available.

If chocolates are available at night, especially while in captivity, pandas can eat them.

Can Pandas Eat Chocolates While Breastfeeding?

No, pandas that are breastfeeding should not be fed chocolates, for health reasons. There’s an ingredient in chocolates called theobromine, which when consumed in a large amount can be dangerous. Usually, whatever a breastfeeding panda eats affects her young, either positively or negatively. 

Theobromine, the alkaloid found in chocolates, can be harmful depending on three factors. These factors are; the chocolate type, the number of chocolates eaten, and the digestive system of the animal. For example, dogs and cats cannot eat chocolates because it can kill them.

Although there is no extensive research on whether breastfeeding pandas should eat chocolates or not; it should be avoided. Baby pandas are usually tiny at birth and strange diets can harm them. If a mother panda eats a lot of chocolates, and some elements are passed to the cubs through breastfeeding, a lot of things can go wrong.

Due to their large size, mother pandas have the digestive system that can handle chocolates but not their young. To protect the lives of the panda cubs, it would be best not to feed the breastfeeding panda chocolates.

What Type of Chocolates Can Pandas Eat?

Nowadays, there are different flavors of chocolates in supermarkets all over the world. But which of them is safe for pandas? 

This leads to the following questions;

Can Pandas Eat Chocolate Candy?

Yes, pandas can eat chocolate candy as long as it is not too much. Generally, chocolate candy contains a lot of sugar and can be harmful when not eaten in moderation. Even though pandas are large animals, there is a limit to what their digestive system can handle. 

Chocolate Candy - Possible food for pandas

Chocolate candy should be served as a treat to these large creatures, not an “everyday” diet. As humans, it is not safe to eat chocolate candy all the time due to health reasons. Therefore, there should be a limit to the diet pandas eat, especially if it is not bamboo.

Can Pandas Eat Chocolate Banana?

Chocolate Pandas -Food for Pandas

Yes, pandas can eat chocolate bananas. Surprisingly, pandas have a sense of taste similar to that of humans. This means that since humans can eat a chocolate banana without complications, pandas can eat it too.

Not only do pandas share the same sense of taste as humans. But they also have the same sense of smell, hearing, and touch, as humans. All these senses help pandas to survive in their different habitats. 

One thing remains certain; moderation is important in everything. While chocolate health benefits pandas, they shouldn’t be given too much of it. Their health will be negatively affected if they eat chocolate bananas all the time. 

Can Pandas Eat Gluten-free Chocolates?

Yes, pandas can eat gluten-free chocolates because they are unsweetened and unprocessed. Usually, these types of chocolates taste differently from the regular ones but they are highly nutritious. However, some chocolates, with the label “gluten-free”, contain gluten from artificial ingredients.

Some pandas may react to chocolates that contain gluten; which means they can’t digest any product that contains this element. In humans, gluten sensitivity worsens celiac disease and damages the small intestine after gluten consumption.

Gluten-free chocolates are the best for pandas who react the same way. Just ensure you check the label on the chocolate package before purchasing a few of them for both giant and red pandas. 

Final Thoughts

Before you leave this page, here is a summary of what you’ve read.

Giant pandas and red pandas have sweet teeth, which means they can eat chocolates like humans. However, pandas in captivity are prone to enjoy chocolates compared to those in the wild. 

We said pandas are usually active at night and can eat chocolates during this period.  Also, we mentioned that it will be best not to give breastfeeding panda chocolate for the sake of her cubs. 

Finally, we discussed the types of pandas that can eat without having health issues. 

Do you wish to learn more about the interesting life of pandas? Click here (Best of Panda Articles).


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