A panda's diet is almost exclusively bamboo, occasionally supplemented by other grasses and small rodents. Its digestive system is ill-equipped to digest the fibrous bamboo efficiently, so it has to spend most of its days foraging and eating. An elongated wrist bone with a fleshy pad of skin forms a functional but awkward thumb which is used to grasp the stems, and strong teeth then crush them into a more digestible pulp.
Pandas were once thought to be solitary creatures. However, new evidence suggests that small social groups may form outside the breeding season. These well-loved animals are the focus of much detailed research, always aimed at preserving the species. Recent research into in-vitro fertilization of pandas may help in the battle to prevent extinction.