This animal is one of the few that the Chinese do not consider of medicinal value, although its urine was once used to melt accidentally swallowed needles. While this lack of usefulness in maintaining erections or regrowing hair may have saved the giant panda from going the same way as India’s tigers or Africa’s elephants and rhinos, I am of the opinion that if someone has been stupid enough to swallow a needle by accident, they deserve a top up of their glass of therapeutic panda pee.
Jokes aside, today is apparently the anniversary of the first live giant panda discovery by the West. Even though I live in Adelaide and there is a large number of people devoting each day to Wang Wang and Fu Ni’s every move, I remain blissfully panda oblivious. I respect the animal, do not get me wrong; but then any animal who is limited to two periods of activity a day and still getting attention despite that is bound to get my respect. (The two are the only breeding pair in the Southern Hemisphere but they are yet to show any signs of interest in each other.)
However, the reason behind this laziness is nothing more than the fact that its very short digestive tube and its diet of around ten kilos of fibre rich bamboo leaves makes it absolutely necessary for a panda to poop up to 40 times each day. The leafy diet is also the reason behind the panda’s moon faced appearance. But do not be fooled, in the event of these being available, the panda will eat meat, fish and eggs. As is evident from the hand of panda below. Zoo keepers better watch their backs is all I am going to say.
(Image: Momotarou, 2012, wikipedia)