Unlike most large animals, giant pandas are so big yet so cute, especially with their black and white fur.
However, do these creatures appear this way at birth? Come to think of it — what does a newborn giant panda look like?
Newborn giant pandas appear pink, very small, and weak at birth. They also can not see and hear anything. In addition, their limbs are too weak for them to stand on their own.
There’s nothing they can do by themselves!
Also, they have tails but no fur at all, even black marks around their eyes. They’re just immature in many areas.
Obviously, these babies don’t look like they’re going to grow up to the 300-pound cute giants.
However, looking at the size of mature pandas, you might want to know their sizes at early stages. This leaves me wondering — how big are baby pandas at birth?
Let’s go deeper into this article to find out.
How Big are Baby Pandas at Birth?
Baby pandas are very small at birth. They weigh about 0.2 pounds (100 g) and are 7 inches (18 cm) in length. Interestingly, their moms are about 900 times bigger than them. This is incredibly small!
You can see that most newborns of most animals aren’t so tiny compared to their mothers’ size. Even humans are 20 times bigger than their babies.
Also, due to their small size, It’s even difficult to tell if it’s a male or female by looking at their bodies. In this situation, one can use only genetic tests to know this.
In addition, it’s recorded that the smallest newborn ever was about 0.1 pounds (50 g) in weight, and the biggest, about 0.5 pounds (230 g).
However, after birth panda cubs grow up pretty fast and live with their moms for about a year.
Are Baby Pandas Smaller Than a Mouse?
Nope! Baby pandas are quite bigger than a mouse. They appear to be about 7 inches (18 cm) at birth whereas mice can grow about 4 inches (10 cm) in length.
Also, baby pandas weigh about 0.2 lbs (100 g). However, a mature mouse can weigh up to 0.04 lbs (20 g). This means panda babies are about 4 times heavier.
Having compared them to tiny adult creatures like a mouse, let’s compare their size to other newborns of other mammals like them as we go further.
Newborn Panda Size Comparison
Panda newborns are pretty small. However, there are other mammals with the same case where babies are way smaller compared to the size of their moms. These mammals are commonly bears and some marsupials.
Let’s look at them below:
|Mammals (Newborns)||Length in (cm)||Weight Lbs (g)|
|Giant pandas||7 inches (18 cm)||0.2 lbs(100 g)|
|Bears||10 inches (25 cm)||1.3 lbs (500 g)|
|Kangaroos||0.8 inches (2 cm)||Less than a gram|
|Opossums||O.6 inches (1.5 cm)||Less than a gram|
Why are Giant Pandas Born Small?
Bears give birth to premature cubs and giant pandas are no exception to this. Research has shown that pandas, bears, and marsupials, like kangaroos, normally have delayed implantation with a short gestation period. This is the reason they give birth to small cubs.
In addition, while pregnant, pandas and bears eat less or don’t at all. They mostly rely on their muscles to grow these cubs in the womb. However, this can endanger their health and that’s why their babies develop for only a short period.
However, the cubs of bears are quite bigger than pandas’ as they grow and develop for two months till birth. This period is more than that of pandas because female bears store fats already before pregnancy and pandas don’t.
The bamboo diet giant pandas evolved to eat has low nutrients and doesn’t help at all in growing these cubs in the womb. However, their relatives, bears, eat more nutritious diets and that’s why their cubs develop more in the womb.
Scientists have also tested the bone development of the newborns of both pandas and bears. This way, they found out panda cubs appear pretty underdeveloped at birth with immature skeletons.
However, bear cubs were found to have a more mature skeleton at birth. Also, looking at kangaroos that have a shorter gestation period, their babies are way smaller than pandas.
What Color are Newborn Giant Pandas?
Newborn giant pandas are only pink in color at birth. They don’t appear with their unique black and white color from birth. However, in about 2 days, white furs start appearing on their pink bodies.
Also, the black marks around their eyes, ears, and other areas of their bodies that normally are black for a mature giant panda. However, these black furs normally appear as grey and later on will turn black.
Interestingly, their unique back and white fur will fully cover them in about three weeks. When this happens, these cubs will then start looking like the giant pandas we all know.
Recommended Reading: What Color is a Giant Panda?
In summary, newborn giant pandas are very small, weak, and helpless at birth. They are among the smallest newborns when comparing them with the size of their mothers.
Their feeding, warmth, and protection are all up to their moms. What’s more interesting is that mother pandas do the work of caring for them very well.
These little creatures are way smaller than their moms and are not in any way alike with a mature panda. Nevertheless, they grow quickly to become giants after all.
You can visit our blogs for more panda content like this to learn more about the panda’s lifestyle.
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