Family

Pandamonium! -- Guest Writer Robin Berlin

As I helped my daughter research her 3rd grade project on Giant Pandas, I was struck by a couple of things:

1. How cute they look at first glance.

2. How utterly creepy, moronic and disgusting they are once you really get to know them. 

Let’s start with their appearance.  Those sweet, fuzzy faces with the adorable black patches around their eyes?  Look again, and you’ll see that a panda is nothing more than a giant furry black and white bear costume with a smaller demonic person inside.  No, seriously.  Look at the little human eyes inside the black patches.  Eww.  Creepy. That might work for a plushie or a furry (sexual deviations you can look up elsewhere), but it doesn’t work for me.

When they are first born, panda cubs are pink, blind, toothless, and completely helpless. They weigh between 3 and 6 ounces, and are about as long as a stick of butter. A stick of rancid pink butter. They look like hairless pink rats and are repulsive to look at (though maybe my particular disgust stems from an encounter with a pink hairless dog in Bali, but that’s another story). They are 900 times smaller than their mothers -- there is no other mammal mother who has babies that are so small compared to her size, which is weird in and of itself.

Two is a good number in Chinese culture. There is a Chinese saying, "good things come in pairs". That’s why you see double symbols in Chinese product brand names, e.g. double happiness, double coin, double elephants. But that doesn’t translate when it comes to twin panda cubs. If a panda Mother has twins, she lets one die so she can take care of the stronger one. Be strong, little panda cub!

Giant Pandas are notoriously sex averse. Panda Girl can only conceive 2-3 days a year and that is the only time she sees any action.  Well, she doesn’t actually “see” the action, because Panda Boy takes her from behind, Panda Doggy Style. The rapturous lovemaking goes on for a laborious 30 seconds. That’s it.  No after sex cigarette, no pint of Haagen Dazs in bed and definitely no morning afters. It’s not a one night stand, it’s a 30-second stand.  

Who’s your Daddy? That 375 pound, 6 foot tall lug disappears after the 30 second love fest, never to be seen again.

Because Giant Pandas are endangered, Chinese scientists have spent millions of dollars and gone to extraordinary (some might say absurd) lengths to perfect a captive breeding program for the notoriously shy, sex-resistant animals. Using methods ranging from Panda porn movies (watching other pandas copulate—

it’s unknown if lacy red lingerie and stiletto heels are worn, but that image amuses me) to electric rectal probes and Viagra (yes, Viagra; and no, it didn't work), they were able to cough up some new panda cubs.

Their taxonomic classification is carnivoran, meaning that Pandas are carnivores (meat eaters), but, get this: the panda's diet is over 99% bamboo! And they can’t digest plants! I guess nobody told them about their species, so they just keep eating food they can’t digest… as much as 45 pounds of bamboo a day! Pandas eat fast, and they spend up to 16 hours a day eating. They also poop about 60 times a day. They are sluggish because they need to conserve their energy, since they get none from what they eat. They should be eating burgers instead of bamboo! And that is an illustration in Panda Stupidity.

Speaking of food, who wants feces and urine for lunch?  Panda mom raises her paw and says, “I DO!” After she nurses her cubs, she licks them all over “down there” to stimulate them to go Number One and Number Two.  And while she’s down there she hangs around for the best part…eating their poop and pee.  Yum!

It’s said she does that to eliminate smells, though I think a spritz of Glade air freshener beats that hands down. Note to Panda moms: You’re taking “odor eaters” a bit too literally. 

Not enough potty talk?  Giant Pandas mark their territory by spraying urine as scent markers. Nice.

And back to the cute factor.  Giant Pandas are not aggressive, but they will attack if annoyed. So don’t annoy them.

I think the whole panda phenomenon can be summed up with this quote found on Yahoo Answers from Eggman: “They are really cute, so people tend to think of them as harmless, but they will kill you and eat you if you aren't careful around them.”