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Are Panda Bears Cats: Clearing the Air Around the Myth!

Written by JessicaDavis


Posted on January 25 2024

Most people argue: Is panda a bear? Pandas have two diversified species: Giant Pandas and Red Pandas. However, you may confuse them to be bears because of their appearance, but are they really bears? Before we get to the point, you may also think: are panda bears dangerous? If you plan to hike and cuddle or hug a panda in their enclosure, this article is for you.

 Here, we will clear your myths about pandas being bears and tell if the cute, cuddly, and calm creatures are actually dangerous. So stay with us for an informative and fun read. 

 Is Panda a Bear?

 Panda has a lot of different names in Chinese. Among those names include but are not limited to "Spotted/Patterned Bear" (Hua Xiong) and "Bamboo Bear" (Zhu Xiong).

In China, Panda means 熊猫, where 熊 is bear, 猫 is a cat, so Panda in Chinese means Bear Cats.

When the classification of animals was still in their early stage, Giant Panda bears were actually thought to be related to the Red Panda, referred to as the "bear cat." To be precise, a "cat bear" initially cause it has the appearance of a cat-like bear. However, the giant panda's genus is Ailuropoda, which means "cat-foot" rather than simply "cat."

 The name became "bear cat" when people forgot that the Chinese traditionally read and write vertically in columns going from up to down and ordered from right to left. When it is changed to horizontal writing, they keep the order from right to left. For people who read and write horizontally from left to right, they misread it as "bear cat" instead of "cat bear."

While the Giant Panda is a bear family member, a few habits separate the species from other bears.

  • Diet: While other bears eat almost anything, pandas eat only bamboo 90% of the time. 
  • Hibernation: Pandas also don't hibernate like other bears. Instead, when the weather in the higher elevations of China starts to get chilly, they move to the lower elevations.
  • Modified Wrist Bone: Pandas have a special adaptation through a modified wrist bone, which they use like an opposable thumb. It helps in grabbing and breaking bamboo shoots.


    Are Panda Bears Dangerous? 

     Pandas are generally cute, cuddly, and quiet animals, spending most of the time eating bamboo, but they can be dangerous when threatened and even attack to protect themselves or their cubs when provoked. Even if you can find wolves and dogs escaping when they look at panda bears, they may try to fight a panda, but after 1 or 2 rounds, they find it safe to escape their clutches.

     According to the World Wildlife Fund reports, pandas are solitary creatures who avoid confrontation. While pandas may look cute, they are dangerous to humans as they have strong jaw muscles with large molar teeth to deliver powerful bites and sharp claws with a biting pressure of around 292 pounds.

     A panda's physical strength and firm grip shouldn't be taken lightly. They are agile and possess great climbing and swimming abilities. Pandas don't hibernate and are always searching for food, making them less clumsy and lazy than some assume.  

     Are Panda Bears Naturally Aggressive? 

     Pandas are regarded as solitary and calm animals that prefer avoiding confrontation, making them less dangerous than other bear species. Like most other bears, panda bears have strong jaws and teeth with the ability and willingness to cause sizeable injury or death if necessary. 

     Panda bears can be aggressive towards one another in the wild. For instance, male pandas will fight with each other for females, especially over mating rights. Many people have even witnessed pandas with torn ears and bites from fights.

     How To Stay Safe Around Pandas

     It's never wise to approach wild animals, especially bears, and instead maintain a healthy distance. Pandas weigh much more than humans, have ferocious biting capabilities, and have razor-sharp claws. You will only encounter one in the wild if you live near Pandas or plan a backpacking adventure there. However, if you ever happen to chance on one, these tips would ensure safety.


    • Carry bear spray when hiking and spray it when necessary.
    • Don't run from a bear; instead, talk to it and slowly back away.
    • Make loud noises along the trail when hiking, like hitting two rocks together, to alert a nearby bear so that it will avoid you.
    • Store any food in bear caches if camping, and do not cook close to your sleeping area, as the smell of food can draw bears to you.
    • Play dead with an aggressive grizzly bear, but fight back if there's a black bear.

     While there are no records of a panda having killed a human, you should exercise caution if entering a panda's enclosure as they may severely injure you when they are annoyed or senses a threat to itself or its kids.

     The best way to avoid uncalled panda attacks is to maintain a safe distance, but if you want to feel one always near pandadorf.com can help you achieve your dreams. You must visit the site to explore a luxurious and premium collection of clothing, jewelry, smartphone cases, and much more inspired by pandas. 

     Pandas are cute, cuddly, and fluffy animals that can be aggressive when provoked or when they sense a threat. However, it's uncommon for giant pandas to be aggressive unless threatened. Your foremost opportunity to encounter a panda bear would be at a zoo. So, the best way to avoid a panda bear attack is to keep away from their enclosures. Never climb up on fences or walls to get closer, and never try to invade their territory for a photo or physical contact purposely to avoid putting your life at risk.



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