25 Animals That Eat Bamboo


This is a comprehensive post about the different animals that eat Bamboo. We searched about animals across different continents and habitats, and we have a very comprehensive list. We have also provided answers to many of the questions people ask about bamboo-eating animals.

Which animals eat Bamboo? Pandas (mainly giant pandas and red pandas) are the most popular bamboo eaters worldwide. 99 percent of what giant pandas eat is bamboo. But aside from pandas, bamboo lemurs and bamboo rats also eat lots of bamboos. Other animals that eat bamboo include golden monkeys, elephants, chimpanzees, bamboo orders, elephants, and mountain gorillas, among others. Humans also eat the cooked shoots of bamboo plants. 

Since bamboo is a plant, any herbivore (animals that eat plants only) can eat it. Omnivores (animals that eat both animal and plant foods) can also eat bamboo. However, bamboo contains lots of cyanide and could be poisonous but some animals have evolved to process this cyanide component. What are these animals? Read on to find interesting facts about the different animals that love eating bamboo.

Animals That Eat Bamboo
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Pandas Love Eating Bamboo

Giant pandas and red pandas are voracious bamboo eaters. Giant pandas eat a 99% bamboo diet. This means only 1% of what they eat is not bamboo. They can consume as much as 15 kg or more of bamboo daily. Red pandas also eat about 85-95 percent bamboo diet. Pandas love eating bamboo shoots, but they also eat the roots, stems, and leaves of the bamboo plant.

Giant Pandas Eat Bamboo

Giant pandas are the most popular bamboo eaters in the world, and that is because they eat lots of them. They live on bamboo plants and hardly leave their “home”. So, bamboo is the only available meal in their immediate environment. 

Giant pandas also eat other foods aside from bamboo, but that’s only about 1% of their diet. Bamboo makes up the remaining 99% of the giant panda’s diet. Their favorite part is the shoot, but they love eating the young leaves too.

Giant pandas eat 25 known bamboo species, but each giant panda may not eat more than 2-5 species in its lifetime. This diversity is important because each bamboo species has unique reproductive cycles. When a species reaches the point in their reproduction where they die out, giant pandas switch to eating another bamboo species. This prevents giant pandas from starving to death.

✅ Video – What Do Pandas Eat? All About The Panda Bear Diet!

What do you think of an animal that eats the same food daily for its entire life? That’s the kind of animal that panda bears are. This video explains the panda’s diet, which is made up of 99% bamboo. Watch this video to find out what makes up the remaining 1% of the giant panda’s diet.

Red Pandas Eat Bamboo

Red pandas live in high-altitude bamboo temperate forests all around the world. They eat an 85-95% bamboo diet. Red pandas are not selective eaters like giant pandas. They eat almost any part of the bamboo plant that’s above the ground. These include the culm, stem, shoots, roots, and leaf tips.

Aside from bamboo, red pandas also eat the roots of various plants, as well as other succulent grasses. They also eat fruits, grubs, and insects. At times, they even hunt for and kill small mammals and birds for food.

Does Bamboo Manufacturing Threaten The Existence of Pandas?

Bamboo manufacturing can affect the natural habitat and diet of pandas. They rely on bamboo for living and feeding. As such, bamboo manufacturing is a major threat to the survival of pandas. But manufacturers are beginning to take proactive steps about this. There are now special bamboo forests dedicated to the cultivation of non-panda food bamboo for manufacturing.

What’s more, bamboo grows very quickly, so it is a highly renewable resource. It regrows within a short while after it is harvested. Its fast growth should naturally avert the threat to pandas’ survival. But bamboos are not nutrient-rich, so pandas need about 12-38 kg bamboos daily for their sustenance. They need as much bamboo as possible to stay alive and get enough energy.

Are Pandas The Only Animal That Eats Bamboo?

Pandas are not the only animals that eat bamboo. Other animals that love eating bamboo include bamboo lemurs, mountain gorillas, and Asian elephants. Chimpanzees also eat bamboo and use its stem as rods for scooping and eating termites. So, chimpanzees sometimes cut down bamboo stems, no to eat the stem itself, but to eat the termites that may have infested it.

Bamboo Lemurs Eat Bamboo

Bamboo lemurs live in damp forests, which is bamboo’s natural habitat. So, bamboos are readily available for them to eat. What’s more, they spend most of their waking time on the bamboo plant and hardly ever come down from the plant. They eat lots of bamboos, as an almost exclusive diet. Experts still wonder how bamboo lemurs can detoxify the high cyanide contents in the bamboo shoots they eat.

Mountain Gorillas Eat Bamboo

The mountain gorillas are mostly found in African forests where they eat various plants and fruits. Their diet comprises over 140 plant species, including bamboo. These plants make up over 85% of their diet. They love eating the leaves, stems, and shoots of bamboo and other plant species.

The plants eaten by mountain gorillas depend on the ones available in their environment. So, they do not go about looking for bamboo to eat. But they would gladly eat it if it is within their reach. What’s more, they migrate to different vegetation zones at different times of the year.

Mountain gorillas are likely to spend about 2 months in bamboo forests each year. While there, they eat fresh bamboo shoots. There is even a common myth that these gorillas sometimes get drunk with bamboo sap. But experts found that the drunk-like reactions are nothing but times of sugar-high. The rich sugar content of bamboo gives them extra energy.

Asian Elephants Eat Bamboo

Asian elephants are the largest land animals on earth. They eat so much food, probably because of their large size. Asian elephants can consume 150 kg of plants daily. They eat over 110 plant species, including bamboo. 

Of all bamboo species, Asian elephants love eating the Mai Roak species the most. They eat any part of the bamboo plant, including the shoots, leaves, stems, and seedlings.

Chimpanzees Eat Bamboo

Chimpanzees are also known lovers of bamboo. They are omnivores, meaning they can eat both plant and animal foods. So their diet is usually very diverse, with various foods included. They eat insects, tree barks, fruits, blossoms, leaves, tree seeds, various nuts, and even meat (just 1%of their diet).

What chimpanzees love to eat the most is fruit. Fruits make up as high as 60 percent of chimpanzees’ diets. But they also love eating bamboo.

While you can see them cutting down bamboo quite often, it doesn’t mean they eat lots of it. When they cut down bamboo stems, they use the rods as tools to scoop and eat termites.

Do All Animals Eat Bamboo?

Not all animals eat bamboo, but bamboo is grass, so any herbivore can eat it if it’s available in their environment. However, not many animals can eat lots of bamboo because of its cyanide content. Bamboo rats and bamboo borers (Dinoderus minutus)eat bamboo. They are named after bamboo because of their love for eating the plant. Elephants, monkeys, gorillas, zebras, among other animals can also eat bamboo whenever they find it. 

Do Bamboo Rats Eat Bamboo?

Bamboo rats make their habitat in dense bamboo thickets, and their principal food is bamboo. But unlike many other bamboo eaters, bamboo rats eat only the underground portions of bamboo plants. Lesser bamboo rats, a species of bamboo rats, also eat bamboo but it’s not their principal food.

Do Bamboo Borers Eat Bamboo?

Bamboo borers (Dinoderus minutus) also love eating bamboo. But it only attacks felled bamboo culms. Minutus also feasts on manufactured products of bamboo timber. What’s more, Minutus lays eggs at the bottom area of bamboo plants. And at the larvae stage, its caterpillar eats its way up bamboo shoots.

Do Elephants Eat Bamboo?

Elephants are mainly grass eaters, so they eat bamboo plants too if it’s available in their habitat. Aside from bamboo roots, shoots, and stems, elephants also eat wild fruits, bananas, twigs, and shrubs. They also eat plant roots, tree barks, and soil.

Do Zebras Eat Bamboo?

Zebras are in the horse family, so they are herbivorous animals too. They eat nothing else other than plants. Their main food is grass, which could include bamboo whenever available. When there is no grass available, zebras can also eat the bark, leaves, and stems of different trees.

Do Gorillas Eat Bamboo?

Gorillas are strict vegetarians, who love eating bamboo, fruits, and other plant foods. But western low-land gorillas are not strict vegetarians because they love eating ants and termites too. Both strict vegetarian gorillas and western lowland gorillas love eating bamboo stems and shoots.

Do Giraffes Eat Bamboo?

Giraffes are not selective, so they can eat just about anything. But they are strict herbivores who eat diverse kinds of plants, including bamboo. Bamboo is, however, not the primary food for giraffes. It is also not one of their favorite foods to eat.

Can Rabbits Eat Bamboo?

Rabbits can chew bamboo leaves for nourishment, but they do not attack bamboos in their natural habitat. However, rabbit owners can give bamboo leaves to their rabbits for food. But if you are giving bamboo leaves to your rabbit, make sure they weren’t insect-infested or treated with insecticides.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bamboo?

Guinea pigs enjoy eating the leaves and shoots of the bamboo plant. Chewing on bamboo helps keep the teeth of Gaines pigs healthy. What’s more, the plant contains lots of fiber, which is good for their digestion.

Can Termites Eat Bamboo?

Termites are common insects found in bamboo. They make their way into any tree or plant, so long as the climate condition is moist and warm. Subterranean termites make tube-like runways with feces and soil, and through it, climb up to bamboo plants to attack them. They gnaw at the bamboo plant from the inside. Drywood termites also build nests inside bamboo culm and eat them. To learn more about this topic, check out this article that discusses if termites eat bamboo.

Can Beetles Eat Bamboo?

Beetles are also common insects found in bamboo. Powderpost beetles can eat an entire bamboo culm. They only leave a thin shell behind. Beetles larvae also eat bamboo culm because of the sugars and starch in its parenchyma cells. They infest the bamboo culm with more intensity when lots of starch is available in it. 

Can Humans Eat Bamboo?

Bamboo is edible for humans, and some Asians and native Indians cook and eat bamboo shoots. This is the only known edible part. But you must cook it thoroughly or allow it to ferment before eating it. If you don’t cook bamboo shoots, they would be bitter and may be poisonous. Boiling and fermentation are two ways to neutralize the poisonous cyanide content in bamboo. We have also written this article titled, what does bamboo shoots taste like? Check out the article to learn more about the topic.

Do Koalas Eat Bamboo?

Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves almost exclusively, just like pandas eat bamboo. Koalas sleep a lot and use almost all their active time to eat eucalyptus leaves. They also sometimes eat the flowers and bark of eucalyptus. Occasionally, some koalas eat tea tree leaves too. You can also check out this article that we have written titled, do Koalas eat bamboo? Check out the article to find out if Koala includes bamboo in their diet

Different Animals That Eat Bamboo All Over The World 

Giant pandas and Asian elephants eat bamboo in Asia, but you can’t find these animals in continental Africa’s Bamboo forests. In Africa, mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas, among other animals, are known to eat bamboo. Bamboo lemurs are the bamboo eaters of Madagascar while canebrake rattlesnakes eat lots of the bamboo in the Americas.

Bamboo forests have formed diverse ecosystems all around the world to support various animal species. Some of these animals have evolved to form very close ties with bamboo, and some depend almost entirely on it for survival. As you read on we will talk about the main eaters of bamboo in different parts of the world.

Animals That Eat Bamboo In Asia

Asia has the most bamboo forests all over the world, with China as the leading country. China is home to over 500 native bamboo species, as well as home to Giant Pandas – the most popular bamboo eater worldwide.

Here are the animals that eat bamboo in Asia’s vast bamboo forests:

  • Giant Panda
  • Red panda
  • Bamboo rats
  • Asian elephants

Animals That Eat Bamboo In Africa

East Africa hosts the most extensive bamboo tracts in continental Africa. Bamboo forests are mostly present in the well-watered highland regions and middle elevations of East Africa. In these places, two eastern gorillas subspecies love to eat the bamboos- Mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas.

Here are the animals that eat bamboo in continental Africa’s bamboo forests:

  • Mountain gorillas
  • Lowland gorillas
  • African elephants
  • Forest hogs
  • Mountain bongos (an endangered species of forest antelope)
  • Several birds
  • Various reptiles

Animals That Eat Bamboo In Madagascar

In general, Africa has low-density bamboo forests. But Madagascar is an exception, boasting of 32 native bamboo species. Bamboos are especially widespread in Madagascar’s east coast escarpments and lowland trade-wind forests. They for both jungle thickets and understory layers where iconic animals, like bamboo lemurs, feast on the bamboo plants.

Animals That Eat Bamboo In America

Tropical America supports a significant expanse of bamboo forests. Brazil alone has more than nine million hectares of bamboo forest. You can find extensive bamboo forests in both floodplain and upland sites of the Amazon. There are also extensive bamboo forests in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. 

Here are the different animals that eat bamboo in America’s bamboo forests:

  • Bamboo-wren, and other South American birds in the Atlantic Forest 
  • Bamboo foliage-gleaner, and other birds in the Amazon
  • The extirpated Carolina parakeet
  • Canebrake rattlesnake

What Animals Eat Bamboo In The Rainforest?

In the rainforest, giant pandas are the main eaters of Bamboo. They eat 99% bamboo and 1% other plants. Elephants and chimpanzees also eat bamboo stalks in the rainforest.

Is Bamboo Poisonous To Humans?

Humans can eat bamboo shoots, and that’s the only part that humans have been known to eat. Other parts of the bamboo are likely poisonous to humans. Even the shoots could be poisonous if eaten uncooked. Humans should not eat bamboo raw. Bamboo shoots should either be fermented or cooked to naturalize the toxin, cyanide.

Why Can Pandas Only Eat Bamboo?

Pandas can eat other foods, aside from bamboo but they choose only to eat bamboo. Firstly, this is because they spend most of their time on the bamboo plant and hardly leave its surroundings. Scientists also think that pandas are quite fearful, so they chose bamboo for food because there is no competition and they won’t need to fight other animals for food. 

Interestingly, pandas have the digestive system of carnivores. This means that biologically, they should be eating meat instead of plants. But over the years, they have evolved to love, eat, and digest bamboo.

Conclusion

So far, we have listed 25 animals that eat bamboo. Some of them depend almost entirely on Bamboo while some eat a considerable amount. Others are just herbivores that will eat any plant, including Bamboo if they find it. There are many other animals out there that eat bamboo, but the ones in this post are the major bamboo eaters.

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