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Mountain gorilla. Rod Waddington, CC BY-SA 2.0

6 Adorable Animals That Love Bamboo

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Giant panda

We all have seen cute pictures of clumsy black and white giant pandas eating bamboo.

Giant panda eats bamboo
Giant panda. Laurie Boyle, CC BY-SA 2.0

I don`t know about you, but I could look at them all day every day. So adorable!

Soft bamboo shoots, stems, and leaves are the major food source of giant pandas. It makes up to 99% of their diet.

Giant pandas consume 12-15 kg a day of bamboo roots, shoots, and leaves (26-33lbs). The favorite part to eat is bamboo shoots, followed by young leaves.

They are known to eat 25 species of bamboo. It is important for pandas to have access to at least 2 species because of the way bamboos reproduce. Many species go through a phenomenon when all bamboos flower and then die out. This could lead to starvation if there is no other species available.

But Giant pandas are not the only animals that like eating bamboo. What are other animals that eat bamboo? Let`s see!

Red panda

Red panda eats bamboo
Red panda

Red pandas live in region from northern Myanmar (Burma) to the west Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces of China. They are also found in suitable habitat in Nepal, India, and Tibet.

Red pandas live in high-altitude temperate forests with bamboo understories in the Himalayas and high mountains.

Bamboo constitutes 85 to 95 percent of the red panda’s diet.

Unlike giant pandas that feed on nearly every above-ground portion of bamboo (including the culm, or woody stem), red pandas feed selectively on the most nutritious leaf tips and, when available, young tender shoots.

They may also forage for roots, succulent grasses, fruits, insects and grubs. And occasionally they even kill and eat birds and small mammals.

Bamboo lemur

Bamboo lemur
Bamboo lemur. Brian Gratwicke, CC BY 2.0

The Bamboo lemurs are medium-sized primates that live exclusively on Madagascar. Sometimes they are also called Gentle lemurs.

Bamboo lemurs prefer damp forests where bamboo grows.

They can be active any time of the day but are often active just after dawn. Bamboo lemurs spend most of the time up in the trees, and only sometimes come down to the ground.

They are called bamboo lemurs because they almost exclusively eat bamboo. How they can detoxify the high amounts of cyanide (from bamboo shoots) in their diets is still unknown.

Mountain gorilla

Mountain gorilla
Mountain gorilla. Rod Waddington, CC BY-SA 2.0

The mountain gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests and of the Virunga Volcanoes in Africa.

The mountain gorilla is primarily a herbivore; the majority of its diet(85.8%) is composed of the leaves, shoots, and stems of 142 plant species.

The home range size (the area used by one group of gorillas during one year) is influenced by the availability of food sources and usually includes several vegetation zones.

The mountain gorilla spends most of its time in the Hagenia forests, where galium vines are found year-round.

It travels to the bamboo forests during the few months of the year fresh shoots are available.

A while ago I read that mountain gorillas can get drunk on mountain sap. But when I did a bit more research it turned out to be a myth.

The biologists explain that the behavior that looked like being drunk to the wildlife photographer who discovered the drunk gorillas was more likely a sugar high.

Bamboo contains a lot of sugar and it gives a lot of extra energy to the gorillas.


Chimpanzee eating thermites
Chimanzee catching thermites. Kazuhiro Keino, CC BY 2.0

Chimpanzees are omnivorous (they eat both plants and meat) just like human beings.

They are very diverse in their diet and they eat a very wide variety of things. Their diet includes things such as insects, blossoms, bark, fruit, tree seeds, leaves, meat and a wide variety of nuts.

That also includes bamboo.  It`s not their main source of food though.

The biggest part of their diet is fruit – 60%. Even though they are omnivores, they rarely eat meat, only 1% of their diet is meat.

Chimpanzees like to supplement their diet with a variety of insects found in their wild habitat. Insects make up about 4% of their diet while in the wild.

Termites are an important part of their diet because they are the most nutritious of insects. They mainly use straws to suck termites out of the mounds.

They also use bamboo rods to scoop the termites out and eat them.

Asian elephant

Asian elephant
Asian elephant. Mike Prince, CC BY 2.0

The Asian elephant is the largest living land animal in Asia.

Since 1986, the Asian elephant has been listed as endangered. Its population has declined by at least 50 percent over the last three generations.

Elephants eat a lot. They consume up to 150 kg (330 lb) of plants every day and are known to eat 112 different plant species.

People at Laos elephant sanctuary pay attention to what food elephants like the most.

While elephants eat many bamboo species, their favorite is Mai Roak Bamboo. They like all of if – shoots, seedlings, stems, and leaves.

Elephants drink at least once a day and are never far from a source of fresh water. They need 80–200 liters of water a day and use even more for bathing.