Mommy Panda Prepares Her Cub For Adult Life with Bamboo Eating Lessons

The cuddly baby pandas have the best childhood, especially when being taken care of by a great mom. Cubs are well-protected and never miss a meal from their mothers until they learn to be independent. After birth, cubs are carried in their arms so they can cuddle them. Their attention is focused on their young one — never letting the cub out of her sight. Also, pandas are protective due to the possibility of a predator lurking around the area.

Photo: Youtube/BBC Earth

Mothers ensure their baby survives until they have taught them everything there is to know about adult life. It is their responsibility to walk them through independence, which includes finding fresh bamboo in the forest. Young pandas receive breastmilk in the first six months of their life before their body gets introduced to their main diet. BBC Earth has shared a video of a mother panda taking her cub out for a lesson in the bamboo forest of China’s Giant Panda Park. The forest is the main source of a panda’s diet, making it a suitable location to teach lessons.

Photo: Youtube/BBC Earth

The first thing the baby needs to know is how to find a fresh bamboo cane. The mother scoured through the forest while the baby was following her — eager to learn and to try bamboo for itself. Mommy Panda examined a bamboo cane to determine if the plant was fresh by smelling it. Once it’s a perfect find, she bites into the cane with her strong jaws, as she needs to properly cut it in half. Interestingly, the young panda also held a stick and mimicked everything Mommy was doing. It practiced its bite on the stick while the adult female cracked the inside of the bamboo for the digestible part of the cane.

Photo: Youtube/BBC Earth

Pandas lack plant-processing gut bacteria due to having a carnivore’s digestive system. For this reason, weaning the baby panda includes transferring vital bamboo-digesting microbes from their mouth. The cub licks her saliva from her mouth. By the time the panda cub turns 18 months old, it is weaned and prepared to face the world independently. The mother can leave her cub with full confidence that it can successfully survive in the wild. Adult pandas are solitary animals, but they communicate from time to time. They do it through scent marks, calls, and frequent meet-ups. Mother and child will most likely meet again, especially when they live in the same abundant bamboo forest.

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