Why Are Pandas So Clumsy Or Dopey? (6 Surpising Reasons Why!) (2023)

Pandas are widely considered to be among the cutest members of the animal kingdom. However, they are not the most elegant animals.

We see them crashing and rolling on the ground all the time. So, you might ask: “why are pandas so clumsy or dopey?”

Pandas are mostly considered clumsy or dopey because they don’t get enough energy from bamboo. Another reason is that they keep falling. For pandas, falling is a part of their typical behavior.

Scientists have understood that it is due to their short limbs and playful nature that they fall so much, and hence that clumsiness.

Let’s discuss in detail how and why they behave that way! Continue reading below.

Reason #1: Bamboo

Why Are Pandas So Clumsy Or Dopey? (6 Surpising Reasons Why!) (1)

Pandas are clumsy or dopey because their main diet consists of 99% of bamboo. Bamboo is low in calories and nutrients.

Eating bamboo results in low energy levels in giant pandas. This is because their bodies convert bamboo into energy at a very slow rate

As a result, the energy stored in bamboo is not consumed by pandas properly, which makes them dopey.

Moreover, pandas are not able to digest bamboo fully as they have the digestive system of carnivores.

Their digestive system is more suitable for digesting meat.

Therefore, a panda mostly remains inactive the whole day.

(Video) Why Pandas Suck At Being Pandas

By remaining inactive, pandas are able to save the little amount of energy they get from their bamboo-rich diet.

Reason #2: Short Limbs

The body shape is a factor that leads to its clumsiness. Pandas are fairly spherical animals, and they also have relatively short limbs in comparison to other mammals.

Because of their round bodies and short limbs, they are prone to losing their balance and rolling over.

Their arm muscles are significantly stronger than their leg muscles. It is because they spend most of their day climbing and lazing around. When they do move, they are unable to put as much weight on their legs as we would expect them to. That might be the reason for falling.

Since they are somewhat asymmetrical, it should not come as much of a surprise that they are clumsy.

Reason #3: Playfulness

Another reason why pandas are clumsy is because of their playfulness. They tend to enjoy playing in mud and snow which makes them clumsy.

However, people enjoy watching these lovely huge bears having a good time. That’s why videos of pandas falling or rolling are so popular on the internet.

You can also see them doing somersaults.

However, scientists from Zoo Atlanta and the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding have discovered that this behavior is actually a kind of play for pandas.

Falling and rolling are totally natural behaviors for pandas. When taking care of the baby pandas, the mother and the baby both fall now and then.

This activity, which scientists believe contributes to the cubs’ growth, happens even when they are with their mothers.

Pandas have a reputation for being skilled climbers, even when it comes to scaling trees. According to the National Zoo, these creatures engage in a style of play in which they climb and then fall off of things as a way of having fun.

This type of play is seen as being extremely adorable and silly at the same time.

(Video) Should We Let Pandas Go Extinct?

Playful is often the most appropriate adjective to use in situations when clumsiness is more commonly used.

Hence, pandas’ playful quality makes them clumsy.

However, have you thought of their laziness?

Reason #4: Laziness

Why Are Pandas So Clumsy Or Dopey? (6 Surpising Reasons Why!) (2)

Pandas are very well known for their laziness. They do not move much. And even though they move, they move very slowly.

So, due to their inactive nature, they tend to fall now and then.

They are inactive on a physical level! They spend their days eating and sleeping and exhibit very little interest in sexual activity.

Some essential body parts are already off to a slow start, and this does nothing to help their cause.

When we take into account how sleepy and lazy these bears are, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their energy levels can only manage a limited amount of excitement.

Reason #5: Eyesight

Pandas have poor distance vision. Their poor eyesight is another factor contributing to their clumsiness.

In the wild, they don’t require extremely far-reaching vision because living in bamboo makes it impossible for anyone to see very far.

It’s possible that this is one of the reasons why they appear to be muddling around in the dark; after all, that’s exactly what they are doing (even when it’s bright)!

Reason #6: Athletic behavior

It may come as a surprise, but pandas occasionally engage in athletic behaviors like somersaulting and wrestling in order to break the ice.

Visitors to the zoo may mistakenly believe that the bears are just being cute and clumsy pandas because of behavior such as this.

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When the panda’s mating season arrives, he actually sets down his bamboo to participate in social engagement.

He goes through some warm-up activities that might appear clumsy to people around them.

However, even though pandas are clumsy, they are good at performing the following activities:

  • Pandas are great climbers that use their heads as support for climbing trees.
  • Pandas are also good at swimming and they don’t appear lazy while swimming.

Why do pandas fall over so much?

It is mainly due to their body shape, small limbs, and playful behavior that they fall over so much.

Pandas are well known for their rolling, climbing, and falling. But most of the time they do it for fun. They play with their mates and fall now and then.

If you notice, their legs are very small compared to their body. Hence, their leg muscles are not that strong. That is why sometimes they fail to keep balance and fall.

However, they are also very lazy. Sometimes we see them sleeping on trees and then suddenly falling down.

RECOMMENDED READING: Why Do Giant Pandas Roll Around?

How do pandas fall and not get hurt?

The fluffy pandas aren’t physically damaged when they fall on the ground. However, the pandas may feel a small shame because of their inability to hold on.

The majority of the time, a panda that has fallen will get back up and continue on its route. They have a tendency to roll over and continue with their business as usual.

We want to imagine that pandas don’t get hurt when they fall, because if they did, we would expect them to stop doing it.

When they fall from a great height, giant pandas won’t experience nearly as much pain as other animals would because of their excess body fat.

(Video) Pandas trying to make themselves extinct - Funny fails compilation

However, it’s more of an ego problem for them rather than a concern about the discomfort. To clarify, the question is whether or not they will lose their “panda face.”

After being knocked to the floor, a panda will typically roll over onto its back, lie still for a moment, and then slowly open and close its eyes as it looks around.

When the panda believes that no one is observing its embarrassing slip, it will run to a corner where people hardly ever look.

It will then come out of the corner in a proud manner, acting as if nothing embarrassing had ever happened.


To sum up, the panda certainly is not the most graceful species in the entire animal realm but this cute black and white creature never fails to amuse us with its clumsiness.

Now, scientists have figured out several reasons behind their clumsy behavior:

  • Their clumsy behavior is natural.
  • Climbing, rolling, and falling are a part of their playing.
  • Due to their small limbs, their muscles are not that strong. That is why they fall very few times.
  • Also, their eyesight is not very strong. Hence they cannot see very clearly and due to that, they fall.

The videos of pandas rolling and falling are very famous all over the internet. We always watch them climbing trees, rolling from the top, and playing.

Although it might make them appear clumsy, we cannot deny that they are adorable.

Want to learn more about the behavior of giant pandas? Don’t miss out on giving this article a read Why Are Giant Pandas So Dumb?

(Video) Cute pandas playing on the slide


Why are panda so clumsy? ›

Pandas' body shape also contributes to their clumsiness, because they have round bodies and short limbs, making them easily fall out of balance and roll. Scientists have also observed that rolling is something that pandas genuinely seem to enjoy, just like cats love clawing and dogs love sniffing things.

Why do pandas have 6 fingers? ›

Speaking of bamboo, pandas have six fingers on each paw, including an opposable "thumb" to help them eat bamboo more quickly and efficiently. More an extended wrist bone than a "thumb," pandas use this extra appendage to help them hold and peel bamboo while they eat.

Why can pandas fall and not get hurt? ›

"Because giant pandas are fat, they won't feel a lot of pain when they fall from a high place.

How did pandas get so lazy? ›

"Giant pandas have exceptionally low [daily energy expenditure], which may facilitate survival on their diet of bamboo," the authors write. That explains pandas' lazy lifestyle. In addition, pandas have a smaller brain, liver, and kidney than other mammals their size, as well as under-active thyroid glands.

Why do pandas like to fall? ›

Videos of pandas falling or rolling are popular online as people like seeing these adorable, giant bears showing their clumsy side and having fun. But researchers from Zoo Atlanta and Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding said that pandas do this as a way of playing.

What are 4 Interesting facts about pandas? ›

“Giant panda” is actually just a nickname for a panda; they are no specifically larger than others. Pandas eat consistently for 12-14 hours a day! Adult panda bears can weigh as much as 45 kilos (100 pounds). Like other bears, pandas can swim!

How many hearts does a panda have? ›

As with almost all mammals the panda has only one heart.

What are some facts about pandas 6 fingers? ›

A panda's paw has six digits—five fingers and an opposable pseudo-thumb (actually an enlarged wrist bone) it uses merely to hold bamboo while eating. 7. Of all the members of the bear family, only sloth bears have longer tails than pandas.

What does embarrassment mean panda? ›

Answer: A group of pandas is called an embarrassment of pandas.

What happens if you hurt a panda in China? ›

What Is the Punishment for Killing a Panda in China? - China Law in One Minute. In China, anyone who illegally hunts, kills, purchases, transports, or sells a panda may be sentenced to imprisonment for more than 10 years, along with a fine or confiscation of property.

Has a panda ever hurt a human? ›

From these three cases, we can see why the giant panda was classified into the family Ursidae and it may attack humans when infuriated or frightened, even though it is usually very gentle. Giant panda attacks are rare in clinical work, and clinical treatment was almost the same as for other animal attacks.

What do pandas struggle with? ›

In particular, pandas are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and by people hunting other animals and harvesting plants in the forests.

Do pandas cry tears? ›

Pandas can cry with their voices but they can't cry tears. But they can't cry emotional tears; humans are the only species that do this. Lots of animals make tears to lubricate their eyes, but it's not real crying.

Why do pandas get depressed? ›

“Pandas who lose their young tend to be depressed for a month or so,” said a zoo official. “Yaya appeared to be so sad when she couldn't find her baby. … Tears could be seen in her eyes.” What happens when a zoo animal gets depressed? It gets special treats or psychiatric treatment.

Are pandas lazy animals? ›

Researchers calculate the bears' daily energy expenditure

Giant pandas seem to have mastered the art of leisure. They don't move much, and when they do, it's usually to eat. Now, for the first time, researchers have measured the amount of energy that pandas expend daily, or their daily energy expenditure (DEE).

Can pandas fall in love? ›

KAWASAKI, Japan (Reuters Life!) - After eight years of living together, two red pandas past their prime have fallen in love and discovered the art of kissing. Red pandas are solitary creatures that usually only mingle during their fertile period and normally live for about 10 years.

Do pandas break bones? ›

Giant pandas have a bite force strong enough to break another bear's bones.

What do pandas do not like? ›

Pandas Don't Like It Hot: Temperature, Not Food is Biggest Concern for Conservation. A giant panda cooling off with a block of ice.

What is so special about pandas? ›

Pandas are the only bears with thumbs.

Compared to other bears, pandas stand out for the special bone found on their wrists. The panda's sixth toe is used for grasping bamboo. Although they aren't fully opposable, this bone functions similarly to human thumbs – mainly used by pandas to grip their favorite bamboo.

Why pandas are so special? ›

Why giant pandas are so important. Giant pandas help to keep their mountain forests healthy by spreading seeds in their droppings, which helps vegetation to thrive. The Giant panda's forested habitat is also important for local people – for food, income and fuel for cooking and heating.

What do pandas do for fun? ›

And like other types of bears, giant pandas are curious and playful, especially when they're young. In zoos, they like to play with enrichment items like piles of ice or sawdust, puzzles made of bamboo with food inside, and different scents like spices.

What are 10 facts about panda? ›

10 Interesting Facts about Pandas
  • 99% of Giant Pandas' Diet Consists of Bamboo.
  • Pandas Spend About 12 Hours A Day Eating.
  • Pandas Defecate More than 100 Times A Day.
  • Adult Pandas Weigh Up to 125 Kilograms.
  • Pandas Have “Pseudo-thumbs”
  • Pandas Communicate via Scent Marking.
  • Giant Pandas Don't Hibernate.
Mar 16, 2022

How old is a panda when it dies? ›

Wild pandas live up to 20 years in the wild. With medical and nutritional help in captivity, pandas can live more than 30 years. The oldest recorded panda was Jiajia in Hong Kong's Ocean Park. She died at 38 in 2016.

Can I cuddle a panda? ›

First of all, although they are undeniably cute and cuddly-looking, you wouldn't want to get too close. “Giant pandas' teeth, claws, fleas, ticks and mites mean you probably don't want to give them a hug,” according to Steven Price, Canada's senior conservation director at the World Wildlife Fund.

Is panda the cutest animal? ›

The giant panda is a firm favourite when we are talking about cute animals, but there is much more to these bears than meets their black-patched eyes. Despite its name the giant panda is unrelated to the red panda. It is the rarest of the 8 species of bear, living in only a few mountain ranges in central China.

How hard can a panda bite? ›

One animal that was surprisingly strong was the giant panda. Of the living species tested, its bite ranked number three at 151, a BFQ that represented about 292 pounds of biting pressure.

What kills giant panda? ›

Predators. Although adult giant pandas have few natural predators other than humans, young cubs are vulnerable to attacks by snow leopards, yellow-throated martens, eagles, feral dogs, and the Asian black bear. Sub-adults weighing up to 50 kg (110 lb) may be vulnerable to predation by leopards.

Do pandas walk on 4 legs? ›

Pandas have short tails. They walk on all fours and can climb trees, often doing so to find a place to sleep. An adult giant panda is about 150 centimetres long and weighs about 90 kilograms, although the biggest one ever weighed was 180 kilograms.

Do pandas get embarrassed when they fall? ›

According to a breeder, apparently pandas do become embarrassed just like us. But the fluffy and fat bears aren't physically injured when they take a spill.

What is a sneaky panda? ›

Sneaky Panda refers to the new genre it intends to launch as a “luck-puzzler.” Rejwan said in a statement, “The mobile gaming market is saturated with companies that are trying to make better versions of existing products, but our approach at Sneaky Panda is to introduce the 'Luck-Puzzler' genre, a completely new genre ...

What does panda mean in Chinese? ›

In Chinese culture, the panda is a symbol of peace and friendship. Because of its black and white spots, it has also been compared to the yin and yang, or male and female, symbolism of the Chinese.

Is killing a panda punishable by death in China? ›

Giant panda is on the Chinese ''Tier 1 National Protected Animal'' list. According to Chinese Criminal Law Article 341 Clause 1, illegally killing national protected animal is a felony that may lead to imprisonment for at least 10 years along with fine.

Can you eat panda in China? ›

Though humans apparently ate panda in prehistoric times, contemporary Chinese have little taste for the animal. There is an oft-cited saying that Chinese people will "eat anything with four legs except the table" — including braised camel hump, monkey brains, and shark's fin on the occasional (luxe) Chinese menu.

Are pandas illegal in the US? ›


Being an endangered species, it is illegal to trade in them. If someone was caught with a live red panda they could be fined or even sent to prison!

Has a panda ever eaten meat? ›

Bamboo contains very little nutritional value so pandas must eat 12-38kg every day to meet their energy needs. But they do branch out, with about 1% of their diet comprising other plants and even meat. While they are almost entirely vegetarian, pandas will sometimes hunt for pikas and other small rodents.

Can a panda beat a grizzly bear? ›

With a bite force of almost 1300 Newtons, only lions (1315 N), grizzlies (1410 N), tigers (1472 N), and polar bears (1647 N) beat the panda. An interesting thing I have noticed while in China, is the difference in cultural attitudes towards bears.

What is blue panda? ›

The Blue Panda unites communities in protecting the Mediterranean Sea's unique natural and cultural beauty. It brings the voice of the Sea to the local communities along its coasts, and the millions of visitors enjoying its bounty every year.

Are red pandas clumsy? ›

Red pandas may look like terrestrial animals like raccoons, but they're arborial–they're awkward and clumsy on the ground, which is super cute, but misleading. They're designed for life in the trees, with super-sharp claws for climbing.

Are pandas lazy in the wild? ›

For starters, the GPS recordings showed that pandas are a lazy bunch; they don't move a lot, and when they do, they move slowly. Captive pandas spent just a third of their time, and wild pandas about half of their time, moving around, the researchers found.

Why are people obsessed with pandas? ›

The panda has been relentlessly made into a symbol since the 1960s. It's been used by the WWF to convince us about the importance of conservation. According to San Diego Zoo's Ron Swaisgood, the fact that they are an icon of conservation helps boosts their appeal. "People love to rally around an underdog," he says.

Do pandas get hurt when they fall? ›

But while the pandas may suffer a slight embarrassment by their inability to hold on, the fluffy and fat 100 kg pandas aren't physically injured when they take a spill, said Liu. "Because giant pandas are fat, they won't feel a lot of pain when they fall from a high place.

Has a panda ever attacked a human? ›

From these three cases, we can see why the giant panda was classified into the family Ursidae and it may attack humans when infuriated or frightened, even though it is usually very gentle. Giant panda attacks are rare in clinical work, and clinical treatment was almost the same as for other animal attacks.

Are pandas good at falling? ›

We are all this panda. The Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute describes itself as a leader in animal education.

Do red pandas fall in love? ›

By Reuters Life! KAWASAKI, Japan (Reuters Life!) - After eight years of living together, two red pandas past their prime have fallen in love and discovered the art of kissing. Red pandas are solitary creatures that usually only mingle during their fertile period and normally live for about 10 years.

Can a panda bear run? ›

Here is a surprising panda speed fact: Giant pandas can sprint at 32 kilometers an hour (20 miles an hour). The fastest human runners can put on a burst of speed of about 37 kph (23 mph) in comparison. So the fastest pandas can run almost as fast as the fastest people, and they run faster than most people!

Do pandas get depressed? ›

Pandas who lose their young tend to be depressed for a month or so,” said a zoo official.

What is the laziest animal in the world? ›

Three-toed sloths are some of the slowest and seemingly laziest creatures in the world. Instead of evolving to eat more, they evolved to do less.

Is panda a shy animal? ›

Pandas can climb as high as 13,000 feet and are also very good swimmers. Sometimes male pandas relax by doing handstands against trees. Pandas are shy; they don't venture into areas where people live. This restricts pandas to very limited areas.

What personality traits do pandas have? ›

With an uncommunicative and eccentric temperament, the giant pandas prefer freedom of being alone, and sleep in the daytime and look for food in the night. In addition to one month spent with their partners during mating season, most of their time is spent alone.

What is panda behavior? ›

Pandas are solitary animals but will vocalize during social interactions. They sometimes chirp, honk, bleat, chomp and bark.


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