5 Tips Experts Use to Identify Giant Pandas

By iPanda

Panda Ya Zhu Having Bamboo Shoots by iPandaiPanda

The giant panda, with its signature black-and-white coloration and super adorable temperament, is one of the most recognizable animals in the world. However, have you ever wondered how to identify them individually when facing a cupboard of even-aged giant pandas in front of you?

Panda He Ye Having Bamboo Leaves by iPandaiPanda

To help you out, here are 5 tips experts are utilizing to distinguish giant pandas based on their physical appearance:

The condition of the fur, and the shape of the face, the ears, the eye patches, and the stripe on the back respectively.

Pandas Cheng Feng, Cheng Lang And Ji Xiao Enjoying Sunbathing by iPandaiPanda

Tip 1: Identifying giant pandas by their fur colors

To identify a giant panda from its physical appearance, the condition of its fur is one vital point. Let's do a quick test: can you tell the three baby pandas apart in this picture?

The one on the right who has the lightest pelage color on its shoulders and limbs is Ji Xiao.

The one in the middle with a darker pelage color on the same body parts is Cheng Lang.

And this is Cheng Feng, the one with the darkest pelage color on the left of the picture. Once you have mastered this tip, it should be effortless to differentiate the three baby pandas!

Panda Ai Mi Standing Beside a Stone by iPandaiPanda

Tip 2: Identifying giant pandas by their face shapes

Let’s shift to the shape of the giant panda's face. Have you ever noticed that some giant pandas have round faces, while some others have long faces?

For example, this panda named Ai Mi has a long face with a pointy chin.

Panda Miao Miao With A Smiling Face by iPandaiPanda

When comparing the previous panda with this one named Miao Miao, it’s not difficult to notice the difference in their face shapes.

Miao Miao has a fluffier and chubbier face with a relatively round chin.

Panda Ji Xiao with an innocent face by iPandaiPanda

Tip 3: Identifying giant pandas by their ear shapes

Observing the shape of the giant panda’s ears is another good way the experts utilize to identify them. In this picture, the ears of panda Ji Xiao are shaped like two semicircles, which are round and curved

Panda He Ye Standing Behind a Wooden Fence by iPandaiPanda

Let’s take a look at the giant panda He Ye’s ears closely. It has a pair of elf-like pointy little ears, which are shaped like two triangles.

Panda Jin Bao With A Pair of Big, Fluffy Ears by iPandaiPanda

Panda Jin Bao stands out among a group of giant pandas because of its big, fluffy and upswept ears, which look like a pair of little wings ready to take off.

Comparing the Eye Patches of Panda Run Yue and Panda Chengdu Egg Pancake by iPandaiPanda

Tip 4: Identifying giant pandas by their eye patches

The shapes of the eye patches are slightly different from one panda to another, which can also serve as a clue for us to differentiate them.

For example, the eye patches of panda Run Yue is in an irregular shape and resemble a pair of little birds...

... while those of panda Chengdu Egg Pancake are symmetrical and parallel, more like two parallelograms.

Comparing the Stripes of the Backs of Panda Jun Jun and Panda He Ye by iPandaiPanda

Tip 5: Identifying giant pandas by back stripe shapes

How to identify a giant panda when they turn their backs towards us? The answer is to observe the black stripes on their backs.

The shape of the stripe on each giant panda’s back is usually different. For example, in this picture, the stripe on panda He Ye’s back is thin and narrow...

... while in this picture, that of Jun Jun’s back is much wider and thicker, looking like a chic vest.

Panda Qi Yi Sitting On a Tree Branch by iPandaiPanda

There are also plenty of other features that can help us identify giant pandas.

For instance, Qi Yi, a celebrity panda known for persistently hugging its breeder’s leg, is easily identifiable due to a handful of hair pointing to the air on the top of its head, which looks like Wi-Fi signal. 

Panda Meng Bao Having Bamboo Leaves by iPandaiPanda

The following trick will help you to identify panda Meng Bao in a minute.

Try to observe the flank of its upper head, you will find a black mark underneath one of its ears. This unique spot differentiates Meng Bao from other pandas.

Panda He Hua Trying to cross over a Wooden Fence by iPandaiPanda

Hope these tips can help you gradually improve your panda-identifying skills and get to know more giant pandas!

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