Giant Panda -

Why Are Pandas Black and White?

of reading - words

Why is the panda black and white? Can it be all white? Can it be albinos? Can it be any color other than black?

At We Love Panda there are only passionate about pandas and nature! That's why we decided to write a blog on this subject because this question comes up frequently.

So yes, normally the panda is black and white, but there are very rare cases where the panda's coat doesn't have these colors. Indeed, the Panda can be all white in case of albinism, and it can also be brown and white!

With this article you will know that :

  • Why the panda is usually black and white
  • The Legend of the Panda
  • Why the panda can also be brown and white!

panda plush


Source: Panda Plush Cartoon (We Love Panda ©)

1) White Panda China

  • Pandas legend

Long ago in the high mountains lived the pandas, cute creatures... Pandas very different from the pandas we know today, pandas with only white fur. These bears lived in the mountains of Sichuan Province amidst thick bamboo forests 🎋.

One day, a baby panda ventured out of the thick bamboo forest. The baby panda gets lost and far too far away from his family. The sound of its tears attracted a fearsome predator, the terrifying snow leopard 🐆. The little panda, paralyzed with fear, didn't know what to do in the face of this monster.

But as the beast was about to pounce to devour him, a young shepherdess intervened to save his life. The little panda ran away and the shepherdess gave her life.

 white leopard

When the little panda was finally reunited with his family, he told his story. The fate of the shepherdess caused great sadness throughout the panda tribe. So all the panda children came to the site to pay their last respects to the girl.

But meanwhile, the villagers had found the body and cremated it. And at the edge of the forest, all the pandas were watching and mourning the death of the little girl.

sad panda

Once the fire was out, the villagers left, the pandas dipped their paws in the ashes as a sign of mourning. The pandas couldn't stop crying 😭. They wiped away their tears, covered their ears so that they would not hear the tears of others, and consoled each other by kissing 😍.

Since that day, giant pandas have shed their white coats and have worn these black and white coat. That's how the giant white panda became black and white.


  • Albino panda bear

Albinism is the result of a genetic mutation that induces a deficit in the production of a pigment called melanin. It results in an absence of coloring of feathers, hair, hair but also eyes. If pandas are largely white, the disappearance of their famous black spots is an astonishing phenomenon.

    A photograph taken in the middle of the forest, at an altitude of about 2000 meters, on 20 April 2019 shows a rare giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). On the photograph, published by the Wolong National Nature Reserve, located in the Chinese province of Sichuan, the animal appears totally discolored. In addition, its eyes are red. This discovery shows that albinism exists in pandas. Judging from the photos, the panda is an albino animal between one and two years old. The panda looks strong and its footsteps were stable, a sign that the genetic mutation may not have affected its life much.

    Survival of albino animals is generally not an easy thing. Their coloration makes them more visible to both prey and predators. This makes them more difficult to hunt and camouflage. However, for the panda, these factors are less present because the animal has relatively few predators and feeds mainly on bamboo shoots. However, albinism can be accompanied by health problems. Albinos' skin, due to the lack of pigments, is more sensitive to sunlight. This light can also negatively affect their eyesight.

    2) Why pandas are black and white?

    The most probable hypothesis according to scientists is that the white marks on the body and head have a camouflage function for the winter. While the function of the black color differs depending on the location.

    For example, the black marks on the body serve to camouflage itself with the shadows of the environment. Scientists have suggested that black ears would express ferocity 😼 and make it easier to keep potential predators away. The marks around the eyes would allow pandas to distinguish themselves from each other.

    Although carnivorous, the panda feeds on bamboo, it consumes bamboo all year round to meet its energy needs. This plant does not provide it with enough energy to build up energy reserves to hibernate. In this context of non-hibernation, the giant panda is exposed to light throughout the year. The black and white spots would be a kind of compromise to blend in with the landscape in all seasons.


    3) Are all pandas black and white?

    Qinling pandas in Shaanxi province have smaller skulls and larger molars than those in Sichuan. Comparison of coat color shows that Sichuan pandas have black spots and a white belly coat, while Qinling pandas have brown spots.

    brown panda spot

    Qi Zai is the only captive giant panda with brown and white fur instead of the usual black and white. This male, was discovered as a baby on November 1, 2009, by researchers. The conditions and reasons for its capture remain unclear.

    Scientists still do not know exactly why some pandas are brown and white.One hypothesis suggests that the color brown/brown is a primitive trait. According to him, this brown color is due to a recessive gene that only expresses itself if both parents carry the "brown" gene. These conditions for gene expression prove that young brown and white pandas are the result of higher inbreeding rates. Moreover, these brown and white pandas have only been observed in the Qinling Mountains, Shaanxi province.

    Panda swetshirt collection


    Source: Panda Sweater collection (We Love Panda©)

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    At We Love Panda we strongly believe that education is the main lever for the preservation of a species. So, we write about pandas to answer all your questions about this mysterious species. If you too want to be part of the team you can wear a panda t-shirt, a real support for us.

    SOURCES:Pandas InternationalJournal of Mammalogy Oxford Academy

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