How Long Do Pandas Live? (The Oldest Panda Revealed)

A panda’s natural habitat is in the wild but a great number of pandas today are being protected by humans in conservation centers.

Out in the wild, there are troubles they face unlike those under human care.

Their life span, especially those in the wild compared to those in captivity, makes me wonder, how long do pandas live?

On average, Pandas can live from 14 – 35 years depending on if they live in the wild or in captivity. Certain factors could either keep them alive for long or shorten their lifespan.

What’s more interesting to know is that pandas survive alone in the wild and this can be hard without humans’ care. 

Many have wondered if they live alone throughout their lives and the age they start living alone.

We’ll also discuss the number of pandas living in captivity and why they live that long.

Let’s know more about this as we go deeper into this article.

How Long Do Pandas Live in the Wild?

Studies from one of the world’s leading zoos for conserving pandas, the Smithsonian National Zoo, found that Pandas in the wild can live for about 15- 20 years.

It’s quite difficult for scientists to get an exact age for wild pandas so it remains on average. It’s not easy for pandas to care for themselves out there alone in the wild, especially as loners. 

Even though their natural predators are very few, human activities still place great risks on their lives.

Read further to know how long the ones in captivity live and how many they are.

How Long Do Pandas Live in Captivity?

Pandas live for as long as 30 years under captivity. Moreover, there have been reports from Chinese scientists of pandas living up to 35 years.

This difference with that of the wild is much and clearly explains that pandas in the wild are more endangered.

Captive pandas don’t have to survive on their own like those in the wild with little or no human protection at all.

Food shortage and harmful environmental factors are threats to their lives that captive pandas don’t face at all.

Everything is provided for them in captivity to ensure their safety and good well-being.

Why Do Pandas Live Longer in Captivity?

The reason behind the long lifespan of captive pandas is that humans protect and care for them so much.

This care is what those in the wild don’t normally get but rather exposed to certain harm in their natural habitat.

Conservation centers around the world ensure that captive pandas are safe from all the harm they would be exposed to if they were out in the wild.

How Many Pandas Live in Captivity?

In captivity, there are over 633 pandas worldwide.

You’ll find these pandas in zoos and conservation centers in and outside China. These pandas living under the care of humans are more protected and prone to live longer.

How Long Do Pandas Live in a Zoo?

Panda Living in Captivity

Pandas living in zoos are also in captivity and can live for as long as 30 years, too. They’re cared for greatly and don’t face any trouble unlike those living in the wild.

How Old is the Oldest Panda?

The oldest panda ever, Xin Xing by name, lived for 38 years and was in captivity.

This panda’s age is just like that of a human that’s about 100 years of age. This clearly proves that pandas under human protection live longer than those out in the wild.

Who Do Pandas Live with?

Pandas live alone and without any other panda. They map out territories for themselves and remain. The only time you could see a panda with another is normally during breeding periods. 

And this time is when the males look for the females, especially with their strong sense of smell, to mate. However, in a panda’s habitat, there could be other animals around like the red panda, snow leopards, jackals, and some other animals.

Why Do Pandas Live Alone?

It’s a natural thing for them to live alone. They’re just shy creatures and being around other pandas, as a group or family of pandas, is not their thing. Their sense of smell is so strong that they could know if any other panda is close to them and then avoid them completely.

How Long Do Pandas Live with their Mothers?

Mother Panda Living with Her Cub

Pandas live with their mothers as cubs for about a year and a half or when the mother gets pregnant again.

Aside from their early stages of pandas being cubs, you can’t see a panda living with its mother as an adult.

How Long Do Baby Pandas Live for?

Baby pandas live for a year and a half with their mothers until they’re separated from their mothers and able to live on their own. However, some babies die at the point of birth and these ones might be the ones that were abandoned by their mothers.

Why Do Baby Pandas Die So Easily?

At birth, they’re exposed to dangers from their mothers or the environment they’re born in.

When pandas give birth to more than one cub, it’s hard for them to care for all of them. If it’s two, one is normally abandoned by the mom, especially the weaker ones.

The energy and nutrients required to feed both cubs are less and that’s why to care for one and leave the other to die. 

Sometimes, they may not just abandon them as nursing times are usually starving times for mother pandas, and getting food that helps produce milk is a big task while caring for their babies. 

In addition, these babies die because of their tiny size at birth as their mothers may not notice them and crush them by mistake.

This is a common case with mother pandas and has caused the death of many panda babies.

Can Pandas Live without Bamboo?

Surviving Panda - Can't Live without Bamboo

No, they can’t. Pandas can’t even survive eating bamboo in normal amounts. This is the same with both wild pandas and ones in captivity.

These creatures need their bamboo diet in large quantities as it’s their major food and the major source of nutrients.

Plants don’t digest well in a panda’s tummy which isn’t built for it and bamboo has very little nutritional value it gives pandas.

However, a panda must keep eating it and in large sizes every day to get a good amount of energy from it.

How Long Do Pet Pandas Live?

If a panda is kept as a pet, it can live for about 30 years. Their case is just the same as pandas in captivity. Humans care for them so they can’t be faced with any possible harm like in the wild.

However, pandas can’t be pets and owned by anyone as they still remain the Chinese government’s property.


To sum up, pandas in captivity do live longer than those out in the wild.

Out in the wild, there are certain things that’ll limit their life span which pandas in captivity are safe from. Even in the wild, pandas live alone till they die without families.

Whether in captivity or not, pandas are loners. They start to be that way when their moms leave them to care for themselves and remain that way throughout their lifetime.

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