Showing posts with label Bamboo Pandas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bamboo Pandas. Show all posts

Bamboo eating mammals resembling raccoons

The animal kingdom is full of surprises, and sometimes creatures evolve to fill similar niches in vastly different environments. This can lead to fascinating cases of convergent evolution, where unrelated animals develop similar traits.  One such example is the curious case of bamboo-eating mammals resembling raccoons. While raccoons are well known for their mischievous raids on trash cans, there exists another mammal that thrives on a diet of bamboo and shares an uncanny resemblance to these masked bandits.

The answer to this riddle is the red panda. Often mistaken for a giant fox or even a relative of the raccoon, the red panda occupies a unique position in the animal kingdom. Despite its reddish fur and bushy tail, the red panda is not closely related to the raccoon.  They belong to a separate family, the Ailuridae, with a long and fascinating evolutionary history. However, both red pandas and raccoons share a plantargrade posture, meaning they walk on the full soles of their feet with their palms flat on the ground. This adaptation provides them with excellent dexterity for climbing and grasping food.

But the most striking similarity lies in their diet. Contrary to the popular image of raccoons as omnivores, the red panda is actually an obligate bamboovore, meaning that bamboo makes up the vast majority of its diet. Their strong claws and specialized teeth are perfectly adapted for breaking down the tough bamboo stalks to extract the limited nutrients they contain. This dietary preference, combined with their masked face and bushy tail, creates an unmistakable resemblance to the North American raccoon.

In conclusion, the world of bamboo-eating mammals throws up a surprising answer in the form of the red panda.  While not directly related to raccoons, these adorable creatures have evolved remarkable adaptations to a bamboo-based diet, leading to a physical resemblance that continues to intrigue naturalists and animal lovers alike.  The red panda serves as a fascinating example of convergent evolution, demonstrating how similar ecological pressures can lead to the development of analogous traits in distantly related species. 

Fargesia Nitida 'Jiuzhaigou' Fountain Bamboo [Red Panda Fargesia Bamboo]

 Fargesia Nitida 'Jiuzhaigou' (commonly known as the Red Panda Fargesia Bamboo) is a clump-forming dwarf bamboo.

The stems of this bamboo emerge green, turn deep red and mature to yellowish-orange. It is known that the change in colours is a response to the amount of light the stems receive.

Unlike the other Fargesias,  Fargesia Nitida 'Jiuzhaigou' requires a good amount of sunlight. 

The clump-forming bamboo thrives in moist well-drained soils. 

When planted in large pots and containers, the soil must be kept moist and nutrient-rich.

Fargesia Nitida 'Jiuzhaigou'

Bamboo Fargesia 'Jiuzhaigou' features

Fargesia nitida 'Jiuzhaigou’ is a hardy bamboo, it grows to an average height of 3 metres and spread 2 metres in clump formation.

  • Identification: Fargesia nitida 'Jiuzhaigou', clump-forming bamboo, dwarf bamboo, Red Panda’ Fargesia.
  • Culms: emerge green, turn red and age to orange.
  • Leaves: dense evergreen foliage.
  • Max Height: 2 - 4 metres.
  • Spread: 1 - 2 metres, non-invasive, clump forming.
  • Winterhardiness: -15 to -20 degrees Celsius.
  • Uses: Ideal for pots and containers, or sites where there is direct sunlight.
  • Care: prefers direct sunlight, and requires good soil and moisture.

Clump-forming bamboo plants for sale

Here is where to buy the clump-forming bamboo plants onlineWe listed some top UK Home and Garden bamboo suppliers like Crocus and YouGarden.

Also, check out Amazon bamboo suppliers.

Best qualities of Fargesia nitida 'Jiuzhaigou’

Spectacular change in the colour of the culms/stems from emerging green to deep red and aged to yellowish orange.

Grow in south facing gardens as it needs sunlight for the best result.

7 Types of Fargesia Nitida Fountain Bamboos

We featured 7 common types of the Nitida group. A spectacular non-invasive bamboo plant, it will not send its shoots away from the parent plant.

The clumps form a dense upright wall to support the ‘fountain’ foliage.

Fargesia nitida is among the stunning Fargesia bamboos in the UK, owing their names to the appearances of the evergreen fountain-like foliage and coloured stems.

Here are four articles packed with informational guides for bamboo growers. 

Click on the links to read about how to propagate bamboo plants.

Red bamboo Plants UK

Red bamboo plants are native to China and eastern Asia. These bamboo plants are hard to find. 
However, some cultivars of the red bamboos are now growing in the UK. 

You can get them online or at a garden nursery near you. These bamboos are best for small gardens or pots when planted as individual plants. 

Most cultivars are non-invasive clumping bamboos, we’ve also seen several variations of the running red bamboos.

The variations of burgundy red in new shoots and culms, including changes of colourations make these bamboos a standout.

What are red bamboo plants?

Apart from the common bamboos with green and black culms, you can also find yellow and red stem bamboos. 

They come in different sizes, shapes heights, and colours. The red bamboo plants generally have red colouration in their shoots or stems. 

Though they may not be red, the name red bamboo is used to identify them as belonging to a group of bamboos with some redness in them. 

There are a few bamboos that really appear to be red. Their shoots and young culms show the distinct crimson or burgundy red. 

The colourations will eventually fade as the stems (culms) age. The changes are what make these bamboos special! 

At, you’ll find over 10 red bamboos with the features mentioned above. Here are the 5 best red bamboos with prominent red colourations.

5 bamboo plants with red stems and shoots

This is a fine collection of 5 red bamboo plants, not only popular in the UK but is also preferred among many homeowners and gardeners. Click on the links to find out about growth requirements and details of the shoots and culms colourations.

  • 1. Fargesia Scabrida (Asian Wonder)

Asian Wonder Fargesia Scabrida
Fargesia Scabrida (Asian Wonder) - Clumping Bamboo

  • 2. Phyllostachys rubromarginata

Phyllostachys parvifolia running bamboo
Phyllostachys parvifolia running bamboo

  • 3. Fargesia Murielae Red Zebra

Fargesia Murielae Red Zebra Bamboo
Fargesia Murielae Red Zebra Bamboo clumping bamboo

  • 4. Fargesia nitida Volcano (Red Chinese Fountain Bamboo)

Fargesia nitida volcano
Fargesia nitida volcano the Red Chinese Fountain Bamboo (Clumping Bamboo)
  • 5. Fargesia nitida Jiuzhaigou
fountain bamboo red panda fargesia nitida
Fargesia nitida also called Red Panda (Clumping Bamboo) 

 These links provide an in-depth collection of the features, growth requirements and care tips for each of the bamboos mentioned. 

The featured articles here will give you a better understanding of the height, spread and other specific details for growing the bamboos.

Check out the 5 best red bamboos plants and other common running and clumping bamboos that grow well in the UK.

The red bamboo plants are a stunning addition to the garden. 

They are also ideal pot plants.

10 reasons why bamboo is sustainable material

The sustainability of the bamboos is very much attributed to several factors. 

The two standout factors are the fast-growing nature of the plants; and less energy consumption in the manufacturing of bamboo-based products. 

Read on to find out why bamboo produces sustainable materials for homes and gardens.

Are bamboos sustainable?

Here are 10 facts about bamboo plants and what makes them sustainable plants.

1. Bamboos are fast-growing plants

A single bamboo plant, on average, can produce 4 to 5 times more products compared to a tree because they grow fast. 

Bamboo plants will grow from new plants or regenerate from old plants. 

It can take less than 5 years before harvesting whereas a tree will take 20 - 30 years, even more.

That means that the supply can sustain the demand for bamboo products and accessories.

Yellow Bamboo UK

2. Bamboo manufacturing uses less energy

It takes less energy to make bamboo products like the toothbrush as compared to the plastic toothbrush. 

The raw material (petroleum) need to make plastic products uses a lot of energy to extract, transport and converted into plastic. 

But bamboos, are simply harvested, prepared and converted to usable items.

In fact, the manufacturing process of bamboo products is less intensive.

bamboo kitchen accessories UK 

Read more about the Kitchen Accessories

3. Bamboo plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) fast

Living bamboos use CO2 to grow. So, as fast-growing plants, they absorb more CO2 in less time than trees and other plants.

An acre of a bamboo garden can absorb more CO2 than an average acre of trees and or meadow.

4. Bamboo plants produce more oxygen

Attributed to the fast rate of growth, bamboo plants produce more oxygen compared to an average tree. 

These plants are evergreen and also remain photosynthetically actively all throughout the year.

On average, they release more oxygen and absorb more CO2 than the trees.

bamboo are grea carbon dioxide absorbers

5. Bamboo products are flexible and durable

Products made from bamboo are tough, flexible and durable. 

The fibres can tolerate temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius.

The products made of bamboo will last a long time.

6. Bamboo products are safe and hygienic

Bamboo-based products are naturally tolerant to pests and diseases because they have antibacterial properties in their fibres.

This often prevents the growth of moulds, bacteria and other microbes.

7. Bamboos are great garden plants

Bamboo plants tend to grow in clusters forming thick evergreen bushes. 

In addition to absorbing CO2 and producing oxygen, they provide habitats for other insects and animals.

They are also great plants for garden mulch, hedges, natural screens and for stopping water from washing off the topsoil.

why bamboo is sustainable?

8. Bamboos regenerate from parent plants

One of the things about bamboos less mentioned is the fact that these plants can regenerate from the parent plants.

The growth pattern is such that the new bamboos are going to be taller than the previous ones. 

So, when old plants are cut and used, new and healthy plants will quickly grow to replace them.

This can take less than 3 - 5 years for these new bamboo plants to reach maturity, unlike the tree which can take 20 - 30 years (or even more) before they are ready.

9. Is bamboo a tree or grass?

Bamboo plants are grass. 

They have underground stems (running bamboos) and base clumps (clumping bamboo, unlike the trees and shrubs.

The main difference between a tree and bamboo as the grass is in the parts of the plant. 

Bamboo plants have features of common grass.

Bamboo plants are sustainable? Why bamboo sustainable materials

10. Is bamboo monocarpic or polycarpic?

Bamboo is a Monocarpic plant. It can take several years before a bamboo plant produces flowers.

A Polycarpic Plant produces flowers several times a year. So bamboo is not Polycarpic, but a Monocarpic plant.

Though bamboo Monocarpic plant, it can be propagated in many different ways - that is why it is highly sustainable.

Benefits of garden bamboo plants

The garden bamboos have special properties that are beneficial to gardeners and homeowners. 

In an earlier article, we discuss the benefits of these plants, and in particular, the benefits of the Phyllostachys and Fargesia bamboos.

We hope that it will inspire you to be creative as you unravel the many benefits of these fantastic plants.

Aside from the 8 facts, there are many benefits of living bamboo plants. 

Bamboos have a high tolerance to pests and diseases due to the presence of special antibacterial properties in bamboo fibres.

All in all, bamboo plants can grow and also regenerate from their parent plants very quickly. 

They are useful garden plants as well as the best alternatives to trees and plastics.

Why do pandas eat a lot of bamboos?

The giant pandas eat bamboo shoots, leaves and culms for up to 15 hours daily. Their eating behaviour makes people wonder. 

The giant pandas’ diet is predominately made up of bamboo plants (99%) - other plants and small animals make up less than 1%. 

These iconic animals' main food is bamboo, but why bamboo? So, why a bear built like a carnivore forage almost entirely on bamboo? And, why bamboo when it’s very low in nutrients and calories? Let's put data to these questions.

Why do pandas eat a lot of bamboo shoots? 

Why do giant pandas eat lots of bamboos?

A study reveals that fresh bamboo shoots are high in amino acids and vitamins with some traces of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. 

Though bamboo shoots are nutritious, they are low in calories, which is vital for providing the pandas with energy. 

In fact, when we compared bamboo shoots to starchy and protein-rich foods, we realised that the bamboo shoots are ten times low in carbohydrates, fats and protein. 

This holds the key to why the giant pandas munch through 10 – 25 kilograms of bamboo daily.

Where do pandas get their energy and protein from?

To understand the energy and protein requirements, we’ll compare the carbohydrates, fats and protein in fresh bamboo shoots to raw potatoes and tuna fish per 100 grams per serving. 

Comparison of the nutrient composition of young Bambusa tulda shoots, common English potatoes (high carbo food) and Tuna (high protein food) reveals that for every 100 g per serving, there are:
  • 3 times fewer carbohydrates in raw bamboo shoots compared to fresh potatoes.
  • 10 times fewer fats in raw bamboo shoots compared to fresh potatoes.
  • 6 times fewer proteins in raw bamboo shoots compared to raw tuna fish
On average, there are ten times fewer calories in bamboo shoots in every 100 grams. 

Perhaps this is a broad way to look at it, but it adds to the understanding that pandas must eat a lot of bamboo shoots to get enough nutrients out of them.

Giant Pandas Eat Bamboo like bamboos

As mentioned, the giant pandas' main source of calories (food energy) is the carbohydrates, fats and protein in bamboo they eat. 

Carbohydrates are soluble in water which means the body uses them quickly. On the other hand, fats are insoluble in water and serve as an important energy store. 

The body taps into this energy source when it needs it. Naturally, the cells in the body need a consistent supply of energy and food to do their work. 

They cannot work properly where there is a lack of carbohydrates, fat and protein uptake. The poor pandas, who depend almost entirely on bamboo, must eat lots to meet their energy requirement. 

In fact, on average, they eat 15 – 20 kilograms of bamboo daily. 

This is a lot of bamboos, but it is required if you think in terms of the nutrient intake per 100 grams. 

Pandas eat bamboo shoots for calories, vitamins and nutrients.

How many pandas are left in the wild?

A group of pandas is called an 'embarrassment'. Well, they are solitary animals in the wild and seldomly live in large groups. 

Occasionally, you'll see them handing out together where there is food. 

Check out bamboo facts here

Their disappearance is exacerbated by urbanisation and agricultural land uses. 

According to the WWF, there are less than 2000 pandas that remain in the wild today.
‘The giant panda habitat was once spread throughout China, northern Vietnam and northern Myanmar. But now the giant panda is found in the wild in just six isolated mountain ranges in Gansu, Shaanxi and Sichuan Provinces in south-central China.' WWF
You can help to protect these iconic species by donating to WWF.

This work is based on our research to answer the questions: why do pandas eat bamboo, and why do pandas eat massive amounts of bamboo? 

It uses data from reliable sources to give insights into the nutrients and calories in bamboo and puts answers to the questions.

Pandas take lots of calories from bamboos

Bamboo shoots, leaves and stems are low in nutrients, calories and vitamins. 

That is why, even though, pandas eat a lot of bamboos, they need more to meet their daily requirements.

Panda eating bamboo
Red Panda eating bamboo | Image Credit: Cincinnati Zoo

Benefits of bamboo shoots to pandas

Fresh bamboo shoots are low in calories (carbohydrates, saturated fats and protein) compared to potatoes and tuna fish. 

The pandas eat 20 kg of bamboo shoots (including culms and leaves) daily to accumulate enough energy. 

In other words, 20 kg of Bambusa tulda shoots per day will provide the giant pandas with:
  • 1384 g carbohydrates
  • 96 g fat, and
  • 738 g protein.
Are these a lot of calories to take in a day? According to NHS, the maximum calories a person should eat per day on average are
  • 260 g carbohydrates,
  • 70 g fats and
  • 50 g protein.
Notably, an adult panda stands at 1.9 m and can weigh 150 kg to 180 kg. 

They are 3 – 5 times the size of an adult. 

So, if we take all the other factors into consideration, we can reliably say that giant pandas need to eat a lot of bamboos to stay healthy.

Why Pandas eat a lot of bamboos?

Is bamboo, really, good for pandas?

Some articles hinted that bamboos are low in nutrients. 

This is partly true because the culms, leaves and branches are fibrous. However, new bamboo shoots contain relatively high protein, amino acids and vitamins. 

Compared to potatoes and tuna fish, the new shoots are reasonably low in carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which are important sources of energy for the cells in the body. 

A calorie deficit will affect the pandas if they eat less bamboo. Above all, bamboo shoots are high in nutrients but low in calories. 

Pandas have to eat a lot to stay healthy.