What is a Group of Pandas Called?

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: April 24, 2023
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Pandas are lazy, eccentric bears best known for their black-and-white coloring. They spend the majority of their days lounging on the dense forest floor, casually eating bamboo, without a care in the world. But if you think about it, we typically see pandas alone. Do they form groups? And if so, what is a group of pandas called, and how do they function? Let’s find out!

What is the Term for a Group of Pandas?

Are Pandas Dangerous - Mother panda and baby panda

A group of pandas is called an embarrassment. Other collective panda nouns include pack, bamboo, bunch, and cupboard.

©Daniel X D/Shutterstock.com

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A group of pandas is most commonly called an embarrassment, as in an “embarrassment of pandas.” But some other collective nouns for pandas include pack, bamboo, bunch, and cupboard. It should be noted that there are two types of pandas: giant pandas and red pandas. These terms are more specific to giant pandas, which are the large black and white or brown jungle-dwelling bears.

Some of these terms are easy to understand the reasoning, such as a “pack of pandas.” The word “pack” is often used to describe animals, especially those that look for food together. And even “bamboo of pandas” is pretty easy to understand due to their propensity for eating large quantities of bamboo. But why would you call a group of pandas an embarrassment? 

Why is a Group of Pandas Called an Embarrassment?

Pandas are called an embarrassment because of their clumsy and lazy movements and behavior. These bears are also known to get embarrassed when they fall or do something out of the ordinary, similar to how a human might react to falling or missing a step. While a group of pandas isn’t necessarily embarrassing, the term is still a cute way to refer to these lovable creatures and their funny personalities. 

The term “cupboard of pandas” is somewhat of a head-scratcher. It was actually the original term used to describe panda groups and was agreed on by zoologists in the 19th century. But we don’t really know why. And it’s still used today in zoological references.

Panda groups are called an embarrassment due to their adorable clumsy and lazy movements and behaviors.

©Manfred Werner / Tsui, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

What Are Male and Female Pandas Called?

Male pandas are called boars, and females are sows, the same references as pigs. And it’s somewhat strange since there is no scientific origin or reasoning for these terms. They seem to be used frequently in online forums and non-scientific journals. Scientific journals refer to pandas as either male or female pandas with no specific term.

What Are Baby Pandas Called?

Baby pandas are called cubs, like other bears and mammals. The term “cub” is referenced in scientific and non-scientific journals.

What is a Group of Red Pandas Called?

The collective known for red pandas is “pack.” They do not share the same group names as giant pandas. Despite their similar names, red pandas and giant pandas are not closely related. Giant pandas belong to the bear family, while red pandas are the only living members of their taxonomic family. Hence, why we refer to them differently when in groups.

How Do Pandas Live in Groups?

Giant pandas are solitary animals that live in well-defined territories solo. But some may form communal territories of seven to 15 individuals.

©Jeff Kubina – Public Domain

Giant pandas are solitary animals, preferring to live alone in their well-defined territories. They have a well-developed sense of smell that males use to avoid other males and to find mates during the breeding season. It is very rare to see pandas together, except during the brief mating season. Males will leave after mating, and females will raise their cubs alone. Once cubs are self-sufficient (between one and three years), they move out and define their territory. Aggression can take place if a cub were to stay too long.

According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, giant pandas communicate periodically and form occasional meetings. And some, especially males, may form communities with seven to 15 individuals. These communal territories consist of overlapping individual territories. Members of these communities don’t typically interact with outside members.

How Many Pandas Are in an Embarrassment of Pandas?

There is no specific answer. But when we refer to something as a “group,” it means two or more individuals. So, it’s safe to assume that you need at least two pandas to refer to them as an “embarrassment.”

The photo featured at the top of this post is © KoSei/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Florida State College. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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