Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Everyone knows and loves the giant panda, but that popularity has led to some pretty big misunderstandings. If you've only seen pandas in zoos, you might be forgiven for believing these myths, but the wilderness is a totally different story.
Pandas only eat bamboo. While bamboo is certainly the most common thing that pandas eat, it's not the only one. Pandas have digestive systems akin to carnivores, as well as the strength, but they rarely go out of their way to hunt because of how readily available bamboo is. However, as their habitat continues to shrink and bamboo becomes sparse, we may see a change in behavior suggesting a shift towards a more omnivorous diet.
Pandas are gentle and cuddly. As cute as they might look in a zoo, giant pandas are notably aggressive fighters in the wild. Males fight almost to the death to mate with a female. If it seems crazy to picture these creatures battling it out, just remember that they have the same strength, claws, and bite as the grizzly bear, whose attacks are downright brutal.
Pandas are slow. In a zoo, the most you'll ever see a panda do is climb a tree or munch on a snack. In the wild, however, pandas can move surprisingly quickly. Their endurance is incredibly high since they need to constantly find more food, and they can traverse difficult terrain with ease. While most animals are best at moving over flat surfaces, pandas are just as comfortable on mountainsides.