Why are Pandas Black and White?
If you’re like me, you may have wondered why pandas are black and white. After all, they could be pink and purple, black and yellow, blue and green or red and orange, so why black and white? Actually, quite a few theories have been put forward.
Pandas like to keep an even body temperature. Their black colouring will help them keep warm whilst their white areas will help make sure they don’t get too hot.
The black also helps pandas blend in with the shadows, whereas the white helps them to be camouflaged in the snow. Both colourings, therefore, help them escape the eyes of poachers.
Biologists in California believe that a panda’s poor bamboo diet is the main reason why its fur is both black and white. They argue that their white fur is for camouflage in the snowy mountains while the black fur is to blend into more forested areas – environments that the bears switch between in a constant hunt for bamboo.
The researchers also suggest that the black rings around a panda’s eyes may be a way of communicating with other pandas, while the black fur on its ears may be a means of warding off threats from predators.
There’s also the theory that the giant panda is black and white so that it is easy to spot for its fellow pandas, which is particularly useful when searching for a mate or a family member in the wild. (As the giant panda doesn’t have any natural predators, it does make sense that it wouldn’t need to worry about being easy to spot.) But experts don’t all agree.
Some believe that their distinctive black and white fur may actually act as a camouflage. Although the black and white markings may seem to stand out in the dense forests and snowy mountains, their black and white can be hard to spot – especially the fur of cubs that have climbed high into the trees while their parents are away searching for bamboo.
Molly, Year 6
Cottesmore Millfield Academy