Discover 17 Animals That Eat Bamboo (It’s Not Just Pandas!)

The animal kingdom is a stunning place with an abundance of diversity. Undoubtedly, one of the most recognizable images of the animal kingdom is the enormous panda contentedly munching on a piece of bamboo leaf. Pandas actually eat up to 85 pounds of bamboo a day! That being said, you might be surprised to hear that a wide variety of other animals also consume bamboo. We shall examine 17 creatures that consume bamboo in this article.

Let’s first briefly examine bamboo and the reasons that so many different kinds of animals find it to be an appealing food source.

What Is Bamboo?

Bamboo, with its woody, hollow stem and sharp fibers, is a species of grass. Certain bamboo species are mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions, where they can reach heights of over thirty feet. But it’s now widespread throughout the contemporary world.

It’s interesting to note that bamboo has significant concentrations of cyanide and other toxins that are lethal to humans and certain other creatures. However, it seems that the species that can handle these toxins adore it!

In addition, many kinds of bamboo may grow up to 2.5 feet a day, making it one of the plants that grows the quickest on Earth! Many herbivores find that the lush green shoots that the bamboo’s wood-like stems continuously produce are loaded with starch and fiber, making them the ideal leafy snack.

You won’t find a lot of calories in bamboo. Giant pandas need to consume such large amounts of the plant since it only has about 100 calories per pound.

1. Giant Panda (Ailuropoda Melanoleuca)

Let’s start with the obvious: one of the most recognizable animals on Earth is the giant panda. Their cuddly fur, amiable disposition, and sleepy attitude have won over hearts all over the world. This amazing bear, which is native to the highlands of central and western China, lives an average of 25 to 30 years in captivity. They can weigh an amazing 250 pounds, making them very enormous!

It’s interesting to note that although giant pandas are technically omnivores, experts think they evolved to consume meat. Nevertheless, 99% of what they eat is bamboo (the remaining 1% usually consists of fruit or some meat). The bears can eat up to a third of their body weight on bamboo in a single day—spend as much as 16 hours there!

There are only an estimated 1,800 giant pandas remaining in the wild due to habitat loss and deforestation. Giant pandas are highly endangered.

Interesting fact: Every panda in the world is a native of China, and those that are found elsewhere are borrowed!

2. Red Panda (Ailurus Fulgens)

We are all familiar with the red panda, which is arguably one of the cutest animals on the planet. These feline-sized animals live in extremely specific bamboo forest environments at elevations of 6,000–13,000 feet in the Himalayas.

Red pandas’ main dietary source, like that of giant pandas, is bamboo. However, they eat a wider variety of foods, including lizards, leaves, eggs, and insects!

Less than 3,000 are left in the world, and zoos and wildlife parks are thought to have 10,000 of them globally. These amazing animals are not closely related to the giant panda, even though they have the same name. According to genome study, they have a closer kinship with skunks, weasels, and raccoons. Although there are a few isolated populations throughout the Himalayas, Nepal and China are home to the majority of the world’s wild red pandas.

Interesting fact: Red pandas have an extended wrist bone to help them hold bamboo, just like gigantic pandas do!

3. Bamboo Rat (Rhizomyinae)

To put it mildly, the third mammal that consumes bamboo is not as cute as the two species of pandas. Nevertheless, the bamboo rat is a fascinating animal. They feed on the roots of bamboo and other plant and tree species while spending the most of their time in underground tunnels. This huge rodent, which belongs to four subspecies, is commonly roughly the size of a small cat and is distributed throughout Southeast Asia.

For well over a millennium, people in Southeast Asia have relied on bamboo rats as a copious food source; in fact, bamboo rats are hunted for their meat. They serve a vital function in aerating and maintaining the health of the soil beneath bamboo fields by excavating intricate labyrinths.

4. Elephants (Loxodonta)

For many, this might be the most unexpected species on the list, yet elephants actually consume a lot of bamboo. It should come as no surprise that these amazing creatures consume a lot, given their status as the largest land mammal on Earth! They actually eat up to 400 pounds of food every day for up to 22 hours!

Elephants in Africa have a special preference for Mai Roak bamboo, which they eat, removing the shoots and leaves from the woody stems.

Elephants are among the world’s most intelligent creatures, with a cognitive ability comparable to that of a 4-year-old kid, and they can live for over 70 years. With a brain weighing up to 11 pounds, they can weigh as much as 13,000 pounds. Sadly, people have once again contributed significantly to the extinction of these magnificent giants, and as a result, they are today classified as endangered.

5. Plains Zebra (Equus Quagga)

The ever-fascinating zebra is another African icon on the list of animals that consume bamboo. This striped horse-eater roams the vast African Plains in enormous herds, usually feeding on grass. Their lifespan is between 20 and 30 years, and the largest one can reach a weight of 900 pounds! Their distinctive and different stripes are what make them stand out.

Prior to a recent theory suggesting that zebra stripes actually serve to prevent flies and regulate body temperature, scientists believed that zebra stripes served as the animals’ means of concealment.

Despite their decrease, zebras are an important component of the African food chain because they graze vast expanses. They are surprisingly agile and can run up to 40 mph. Although bamboo is an element of these animals’ diet, it is not a major one.

6. Parrot (Psittaciformes)

It is remarkable how resilient parrots are. Though they can live anywhere in the world, they are mainly found in tropical and warm climates. They have a vast array of colors, are intelligent, and make wonderful companions. Approximately 400 species of parrots have been identified worldwide!

These fascinating birds have enormous lifespans and a high level of intelligence. There have even been reports of parrots living up to 100 years in captivity!

Their diet is quite diverse. Fresh bamboo shoots, fruits, nuts, insects, and many more foods are all readily consumed by parrots. They make wonderful pets because they are very gregarious and friendly!

Interesting fact: The flightless Kakapo parrot, native to New Zealand, is the largest parrot in the world and may weigh up to nine pounds!

7. Giraffe (Giraffa)

This unusual creature, with its hoofed feet, horn-like crowns, and extraordinarily long necks, is one of nature’s great wonders. The giraffe is a magnificent and amazing animal. They can access food supplies that most other animals may only imagine thanks to their extraordinary vision. As herbivores, giraffes consume leaves, grasses, and even bamboo.

Because of their unusual body shape, giraffes are always on the lookout and cannot trot. It’s amazing to watch as they accelerate from 0 to 37 miles per hour in a single motion. They can fend off predators thanks to their amazing spotted fur and long limbs, and they can eat up to 75 pounds of food each day.

Interesting fact: Giraffes can nap standing up and can only sleep for two hours a day.

8. Guinea Pig (Cavia Porcellus)

The most of us are familiar with the common guinea pig. They have been kept as pets for about 3,000 years and are domesticated. Being herbivorous, they take pleasure in eating grasses, leafy greens, and leaves in addition to the fresh shoots that bamboo plants frequently grow. This gregarious tiny rodent, native to South America, lives in lush highland areas. It might surprise you to learn that they have historically been consumed, particularly in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.

They have a wide range of sizes and forms, rarely weighing more than 4.5 pounds, and use a variety of intricate chirps and squeaks to communicate. Though they are called pigs, they are actually rodents and undoubtedly the cutest little creatures on the list of people who adore bamboo!

Interesting fact: Guinea pigs can detect predators at any time since they hardly ever close their eyes to sleep.

9. Bamboo Partridge (Bambusicola)

Despite having exquisite plumage, this lovely bird is nonetheless rather hard to locate. A member of the large partridge family, the bamboo partridge only inhabits bamboo forests where it feeds on insects, berries, nuts, seeds, and bamboo shoots.

This little bird weighs only around half a pound and, although it can fly, it does so very infrequently! Beautiful and quiet, this uncommon bird is mostly found in China’s and Taiwan’s disappearing bamboo forests. Although there is a decrease in its population, the bamboo partridge is not currently classified as endangered. But if their habitat is lost further, they can end up as an endangered species.

10. Termite (Isoptera)

Termites, also known as the “silent destroyers,” are considered pests by humans, yet the majority of their activity occurs entirely behind the scenes. They inhabit enormous, thermally dissipating nests that can reach heights of nine meters. And each nest can hold more than 100,000 individuals! Termites are found all around the planet. Termites consume a wide range of materials, including wood, carpet, and insulation. In their natural habitat, these creatures will also consume bamboo.

The queens have an amazing 25-year lifespan and are perpetually fertile. Because these juvenile termites need to be fed all the time, they are known to cause harm. Curiously, termites don’t ever sleep. They serve their colony from the moment of their birth till their death.

Interesting fact: Approximately 1,000 pounds of termites are thought to exist for every human on the planet!

11. Powderpost Beetle (Lyctinae)

Continuing with the insect theme, we now have the powderpost beetle, which is regarded as one of the most harmful wood-boring insects. This species is found all over the world. Bamboo is ideal for it because it doesn’t have a preference for any particular kind of wood, but it does like fresh, damp wood!

Despite their small size, powderpost beetles may multiply quickly, which makes them a nuisance. Their lifespan ranges from six months to several years, and they are easily recognized due to their characteristic absence of a prothorax. Houses, furnishings, plantations, and forests can all be destroyed by infestations.

12. Rabbit (Leporidae)

Rabbits are omnipresent in the world and can be found anywhere there is grass, forest, and soil that is suitable for their warrens. Their remarkable numbers are further aided by the fact that they are unexpectedly resilient survivors and may procreate extremely quickly.

As vegetarians only eat grass, leafy greens, vegetables, and a variety of other foods, rabbits are truly vegan. They can get essential starch and fiber from bamboo, a lot of energy from the green shoots, and even the tough stalks have been known to grind down their teeth. Rabbits come in a variety of species, but they are all quick, nimble, and vigilant.

Interesting fact: Rabbits can see nearly 360 degrees, which helps them dodge predators.

13. Chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes)

The chimpanzee is one of the most intelligent animals on the planet and may be found in 21 African countries. They can really pick up sign language, interact with people, work through challenging issues, and even play video games! Given their remarkable genetic resemblance to humans, chimpanzees are thought to be the closest living relatives of humans. That being said, chimps would happily nibble on the starchy grass even though humans cannot eat bamboo.

They are distinguished from other apes by their scanty black fur. Chimpanzees are members of the great ape family, and their hands resemble ours greatly. Their faces have recognizable expressions. These magnificent and adaptive animals are highly gregarious. Being omnivores, they consume a vast variety of foods, such as bamboo, seasonal fruits, insects, seeds, and occasionally meat. Even so, their diet only consists of 2% meat.

Interesting fact: Humans and chimpanzees share 95–98% of the same genetic material.

14. Golden Snub-nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus Roxellana)

Eating bamboo, the golden snub-nosed monkey is a genuinely distinctive animal. This monkey’s white face is surrounded by stunning scarlet and golden fur. They inhabit China’s mountainous regions and are able to move seemingly effortlessly across their intricate landscapes and climb trees that seem to be infinitely tall.

Although their sophisticated digestive systems have developed to process fibrous plants like bamboo with ease, they also overindulge in seasonal fruits, barks, and other plants. Although they can derive a remarkable amount of energy from a strictly vegetarian diet, they are primarily herbivores, but they occasionally consume meat.

15. Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur)

Madagascar is well-known for its incredibly rare and ethereal plant and animal life. 90% of the island’s fauna and flora are endemic, in fact! Among the most unique animals that live on this island is the bamboo lemur.Aside from those kept in captivity, lemurs are exclusively found in Madagascar, and we are always discovering fascinating new details about their amazing lifestyles.

The bamboo lemur has big orange eyes and fur that is mottled with gray and brown. The cyanide in bamboo has been broken down by evolution in the bamboo lemur. As a matter of fact, they can weigh 5.5 kg and consume 98% of their body weight in bamboo per day.

Interesting fact: Because of their grace and readiness to engage in peaceful interactions with people, bamboo lemurs were previously referred to as “gentle lemurs.”

16. Gorilla (Gorilla)

The largest ape in the world and one of the smartest animals is the gorilla, also known as the “King of the Jungle.” Though they are cautious and prefer to hide rather than attack, they are frequently represented as wild and violent.

Sadly, their numbers are gradually declining, making them a critically endangered species. Gorillas consume only plants—such as bamboo, flowers, roots, and fruits from the jungle—and are essentially vegetarians. The males are nevertheless exceedingly powerful and have a weight of over 400 pounds. Their social structures are quite complicated, and they live in small groups under the protection of the strongest and largest male gorilla.

Interesting fact: Male gorillas are said to be four times stronger on average than male humans.

17. Bamboo Worm (Omphisa Fuscidentalis)

In actuality, the bamboo worm is not a worm at all. Rather, it is the eggs laid only in the soft, inner pulp of bamboo by the larvae of a moth of the Crambidea family. Though most are found in Thailand, these worms are found across Asia.

During their two months of life in the summer, the larvae stay inside the bamboo and feed nonstop. When they reach a larger size, they eventually break free of the bamboo stem to start the next stage of their transformation into moths.

Overview of the 17 Animals That Eat Bamboo

Number Animal Scientific Name
1 Giant Panda Ailuropoda Melanoleuca
2 Red Panda Ailurus Fulgens
3 Bamboo Rat Rhizomyinae
4 Elephant Loxodonta
5 Plains Zebra Equus Quagga
6 Parrot Psittaciformes
7 Giraffe Giraffa
8 Guinea Pig Cavia Porcellus
9 Bamboo Partridge Bambusicola
10 Termite Isoptera
11 Powderpost Beetle Lyctinae
12 Rabbit Leporidae
13 Chimpanzee Pan troglodytes
14 Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey Rhinopithecus Roxellana
15 Bamboo Lemur Hapalemur
16 Gorilla Gorilla
17 Bamboo Worm Omphisa Fuscidentalis

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