Daily Archives: 5 June 2007

What’s wrong with pandas?

Pandas are large bears with black and white fur who live in south east Asia and eat bamboo.  They don’t have a reputation as warmongers or celebrity chefs so what exactly is wrong with pandas?

I know the obvious answer here is “everything” but let’s try to break it down into manageable chunks please people.  Jeez, get a grip.

Natural selection tends to promote adaptable species over specialised ones.  If you are big, slow and stupid like a panda then you need to be able to eat anything to survive because there’s no way you can catch food.  You can’t go wandering about looking for things to eat because some mean old hunter will be hanging your skin on his wall in no time if you can’t defend yourself or run away.   What do pandas do?  Sit about eating bamboo and getting wiped out.

Failing adaptability you should at least form a pack to protect the weakest members of the species and to benefit from the strength of numbers.  However Giant Pandas are generally solitary.  This works if you’re something cool like a tiger and can eat anything that gets in your way but if you’re a panda then it’s just silly.

Slow, stupid, overspecialised and antisocial.  This could be forgiven if you had a high reproductive rate and could produce many offspring to bolster the numbers that fell to stupidity and hunting.  Pandas though reject this idea and would rather die out.  A female panda can produce 2 to 3 young in her lifetime if she can attract a male who isn’t as gay as a handbag full of rainbows.  Something all male pandas seem to be. 

Even the recent use of panda porn in captive breeding programs doesn’t seem to encourage male pandas to desire females.  A male panda was quoted as saying “It’s demeaning to females and embarrassing to us.”  With sexual intercourse lasting anywhere from thirty seconds to five whole minutes I’d be embarrassed too.

On the subject of embarrassment lets not forget how other bears feel about pandas.  It has long been claimed that pandas aren’t even real bears but sadly this is untrue.  I have often heard it said that the panda is related to the raccoon rather than the bear.  In fact the Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is related to the bear (family Ursidae) where the Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is not. I understand that this is a hotly debated topic in the field of taxonomy.  Well, as hotly debated as these things get anyway.   Proper bears feel a great shame at their ridiculous cousins though and continue to spread rumours that pandas aren’t bears.

A Proper Bear

On to that silly colouration that pandas insist on having.  I mean: black and white stripes on your body.  What were you thinking?  But on your face?  Your eyes look like someone has pissed in the snow. 

That’s what’s wrong with pandas if anyone asks.

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