Do Pandas Eat Humans?


You would be surprised to know that pandas were originally meat-eaters before. However, owing to their large size and a digestive system similar that of a carnivore, you might be wondering, do pandas eat humans? 

The short answer is no! To date, there is no case of pandas eating humans. In fact, pandas don’t love the taste of meat. Meat comprises only 1% of the diet of pandas. However, prehistoric men used to eat panda meat. 

But what about 1000 years ago? Did pandas use to eat humans back then? To get the answer to this question and many other interesting facts related to the eating habits of these cute creatures, read this blog till the end. 

Let’s start! 

Do Giant Pandas Eat Humans 1,000 Years Ago?

There is no record of pandas eating humans 1,000 years ago. However, the ancestors of pandas were mainly meat-eaters. As per the article published in Current Biology, there is evidence that ancient pandas were either carnivores or omnivores and that they had a complex diet but there is no information regarding what actually they ate. 

However, it’s gradually that pandas turned vegetarians and adopted a plant-based diet.

According to NBC, giant pandas underwent mutation in their genes to survive mainly on a bamboo diet. They developed a low metabolic rate which makes it hard for them to digest meat despite having a digestive tract similar to that of carnivores.  

Do Giant Pandas Eat Humans Today?

No, giant pandas don’t eat humans today. Although pandas are massive creatures, their digestive systems are incapable of digesting meat. Pandas can only digest small amounts of rotten meat found in the wild. 

At most giant pandas can eat small creatures including fishes, lizards, rabbits and rats. However, they usually avoid hunting prey as it is hard to find prey in bamboo forests. As a result, most of their energy will be lost in looking for a hunt rather than gaining energy by eating their hunt. 

Do Red Pandas Eat Humans Today?

A picture of red panda eating bamboo leaves

Although red pandas are classified as carnivores, their diet mainly comprises bamboo and other plants and grasses. Therefore, red pandas do not eat humans but they are capable of attacking humans. If disturbed from their sleep, red pandas can use their sharp teeth and claws to attack and rip apart anyone including humans. 

However, there are very few red pandas left on this planet to pose a great threat to anyone. They have been declared as “vulnerable” species by the IUCN because of their habitat loss and destruction by humans.

Do Pandas Eat Human Food?

Chocolates as food for pandas

Although the main diet of pandas comprises bamboo, they can eat certain fruits like mangoes, grapes, bananas and cherries and vegetables like green beans, broccoli and corn which humans also eat.

Other than that, pandas in captivity eat wide varieties of food including milk, honey, bread and chocolates to get the vitamins and nutrients they need. 

FAQs

What Do Pandas Eat?

A photo of giant panda eating bamboo

Pandas mainly eat bamboo and 99% of their diet consists of bamboo. However, pandas also eat other things besides bamboo. The remaining diet of pandas can include fruits, vegetables, and small creatures like fishes, rats and rabbits. 

Pandas can eat the same fruits as humans including bananas, apples, grapes, cherries and mangoes. As far as the vegetables are concerned, pandas can eat corn, broccoli, carrots and string beans. Also, pandas get their water intake from bamboo itself as bamboo consists of 90% water.

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What Eats a Panda?

A picture of snow leopard as a predator of giant pandas

Pandas have some natural enemies like jackals, snow leopards and yellow-thwarted martens. These animals mainly prey on panda cubs. However, pandas are good at defending themselves and their cubs from possible dangers. They can run, climb and even swim to save themselves from being attacked. 

Do Pandas Attack Humans?

Yes, pandas can attack humans. Pandas have a tendency of attacking humans, therefore, they are kept in captivity. Although wild, pandas appear harmless and cute. They do attack humans but not without any reason.

Pandas mostly attack humans if they find them threatening in some way or the other. For example, female pandas can attack humans if they find them a threat to their cubs. Or you can be attacked by a panda if you disturb and annoy them or invade their territory. However, pandas are not irrational to attack humans for no reason. 

There’s a famous case of a panda attack on a 28-year-old drunken man named Zhang. The incident took place at Beijing Zoo in 2006. Reportedly, this man mounted the panda’s enclosure and tried to show off to his companions. However, his right calf was damaged by the panda beyond recognition.  

Conclusion

To cut the long story short, pandas do not eat humans but mainly bamboo. However, it nowhere means that pandas are harmless to humans even if they appear so. Although cute, giant pandas can attack you and may leave you dead if you threaten them in any way. Moreover, their bite is recorded to be of the maximum force among carnivore animals. 

Hope this article helped you know certain unique facts regarding the eating preferences of giant pandas. Feel free to share this article with your friends if you found it interesting!