Giant pandas mark their territory by rubbing secretions from their anal glands onto tree trunks, rocks or the ground, usually along paths that they habitually tread.
Torrential rains or dense mist throughout the year characterizes these forests, often shrouded in heavy clouds.
Giant pandas do not exhibit body characteristics that communicate visual signals. Their tails are stubs and therefore cannot flag signals to other giant pandas.
They have no crest or mane to erect, and their ears are not flexible enough to cock forward or flatten.
It is thought that giant pandas never developed these visual accessories due in part to their habitat and solitary nature.
Giant pandas live in dense, fog-enshrouded stands of bamboo that obstruct a direct line of sight and any potential visual communications.
Giant pandas do occasionally vocalize when playing.
Depending on the time and the weather, the giant pandas have a choice to be outside or inside the panda house. Early arrival is recommended to avoid large crowds and long lines.
The pandas typically have outdoor access until early afternoon. Long lines require earlier cut-off times to ensure those waiting can enter the panda house before it closes.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is a leader in giant panda conservation.