In the wild, 99 percent of a panda's diet consists of leaves, stems and shoots of the bamboo plant, while the remainder is made up of flowers, vines, grasses, green corn, honey and small rodents. Pandas in captivity are fed bamboo, sugar cane, rice gruel, carrots, apples and sweet potatoes.

Despite being classified as carnivorous, pandas have adapted to a vegetarian diet due to the large amounts of bamboo they consume daily. Bamboo has little nutritional value, and pandas have to consume as much as 20 to 45 pounds daily to meet their nutritional needs. Pandas live in areas where bamboo is abundant, and this makes them vulnerable to any loss of bamboo habitat.