Watch Bao Bao the giant panda from the National Zoo in Washington, DC enjoy her first snow!
This year, we fell in love with many new fuzzy faces and cuddly cuties. Here are a few of our favorite baby animals of 2014!
Cutest Yawn: Three male lion cubs were born at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle on October 24. We love the middle guy’s yawn! Spending 16-20 hours of the day sleeping or resting, lions are the laziest of the big cats. In the wild, they can be found lying on their backs with their feet up or taking a snooze up in a tree.
Bounciest Baby: A baby klipspringer was born on March 30 at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. The term “klipspringer” is Afrikaans for “rock jumper”, and this little antelope sure does live up to her name!
Best Belly Rolls: This little roly-poly hippo calf, born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia on September 11, is just irresistible. In the wild, hippos live in sub-Saharan Africa. The hippopotamus is the second heaviest land mammal in the world!
Rarest Birth: Chimelong Safari Park, a zoo in southern China, announced the birth of giant panda triplets this summer. Panda triplets are incredibly rare, and usually, at least one of the cubs do not survive. Born on July 29, these three panda cubs have all survived and mother Juxiao is tending to each of them.
Coziest Hug: The Memphis Zoo welcomed a male baby bonobo on April 28 named Mpingo (EM-pingo), which is a type of African tree. The wood from mpingo trees are used to make musical instruments, and so mpingos are sometimes referred to as “trees that make music”. According to Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs, “He certainly brings harmony and joy to the group.”
We hope you enjoyed our roundup of adorable animal babies of 2014! Happy New Year!
Meet our featured animal, the giant panda!
Here are five fun facts about giant pandas:
- Giant pandas are endangered, with only about 1600 left living in the wild.
- Giant pandas can weigh between 100-115 kg (220-250 lb.).
- One of the interesting evolutionary traits of the panda is their protruding wrist bone that acts like a thumb. This helps the pandas hold bamboo while they munch on it with their strong molar teeth.
- Bamboo makes up nearly the entire diet of the panda. Due to the low nutritional value of bamboo, pandas need to eat 10-20 kg (20-40 lb.) a day.
- Female pandas are only able to become pregnant for 2-3 days each spring!
Learn more at our giant panda facts page.
For example, why do we find pandas so cute…
…while eating bamboo?
…while eating leaves?
…while hanging on a fence?
…while sleeping on a branch?
…while sleeping on some logs?
…while sleeping on a rock?
…or while just plain sleeping?
The reason according to NPR is that their big eyes, button noses, round faces, and clumsy yet cuddly bodies invoke parenting instincts in humans.
Read more about various panda bear cuteness research at NPR’s The Two-Way.
Learn more about pandas in Animal Fact Guide’s article, Giant Panda.
Xiao Liwu is the San Diego Zoo’s 4-month-old panda cub. All the activity and excitement of his latest examination make him a little sleepy. Take a look!
Did you know you can FedEx a panda? On January 15, two pandas named Huan Huan and Yuan Zi, who were born at the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, boarded a specially-chartered Boeing 777F flight known as the “FedEx Panda Express.”
During the non-stop flight to Paris, France (5,489 miles away), the pair of pandas passed the time snoozing and eating bamboo in custom-built enclosures. They were accompanied by a Chinese veterinarian and animal handler as well as the managing director from ZooParc de Beauval, their new home.
FedEx Express has a long history of transporting rare and delicate cargo, including other pandas, polar bears, white tigers, elephants, penguins, mountain lions, gorillas, eagles, and even a 13-foot tiger shark used in filming the movie “Jaws.”
For more information about Huan Huan and Yuan Zi’s trip, see the FedEx Blog.
To learn more about pandas, see Animal Fact Guide’s article, Giant Panda.
Did you know that Atlantic puffins live out in the open sea most of the time and only come to land to breed for a few months a year? Also, although puffins resemble penguins in their black and white markings, they are not related to penguins at all. In stark contrast to penguins, Atlantic puffins are excellent fliers and can reach speeds up to 88 km/h (55mph)!
Learn more facts about Atlantic puffins »
Cougar (Mountain Lion)
The cougar, also commonly called the mountain lion, puma, and panther, is the largest cat in North America. However, unlike other big cats such as lions and tigers, the cougar cannot roar and instead purrs like a house cat. Furthermore, with a slender body and round head with pointed ears, the cougar’s body shape closely resembles that of a house cat, only larger.
Learn more facts about cougars »