ifindkarma. elegance is refusal.

July 9, 2010

What do pandas do all day?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 1:58 am



Pandas are a mystery of nature. If whales are the answer, then pandas are the question.

What is a giant panda a/k/a “panda”?
A panda is someone who eats, shoots, and leaves. And occasionally makes you laugh.

Aren’t pandas inefficient, piebald buffoons who are an evolutionary dead end?
Yes. That is why there are fewer than 3000 (fewer than 1600?) in the world.

Then how are pandas not extinct yet?
Pandas are beloved, because they are ridiculously, scientifically cute. They aren’t just adorable freaky bears that bark in the bamboo forest. Their entire evolutionary strategy (by intelligent design!) was to sit on their thumbs and wait around until there were humans to love them and be responsible for them despite all of their inefficiencies and mysteries.

So how do pandas live their whole lives?
royrod: “You know how sometimes you walk into a room and go… now why did I come in here? That’s how [pandas] live their whole lives.”

Seriously, what do pandas do all day?
Pandas spend 16+ hours a day foraging for food, eating, and crapping. Much like CEOs.

How often do pandas crap?
40 times a day. Hence the phrase, “Does a panda crap in the bamboo forest?” Shoots and leaves — aka “25 flavors of bamboo” — go right through their digestive systems and turn into little pellets. Luckily panda poop smells like tea.

Should we be worried about all those panda droppings?
When life hands you panda poop, make tea. Or paper. Or greeting cards. Maybe fridge magnets.

Are pandas carnivorous?
Fun fact: “Pandas are technically carnivores, but they have adapted to live mostly on bamboo. They will eat small mammals if they can catch them, though!”

Do pandas really “eat shoots and leaves”?
I love this description: “They spend at least 12 hours each day eating bamboo. Because bamboo is so low in nutrients, pandas eat as much as 84 pounds (38 kilograms) of it each day. Pandas grasp bamboo stalks [including bamboo shoots!] with their five fingers and a special wristbone, then use their teeth to peel off the tough outer layers to reveal the soft inner tissue. Strong jaw bones and cheek muscles help pandas crush and chew the thick stalks with their flattened back teeth. Bamboo leaves are also on the menu, as pandas strip them off the stalks, wad them up, and swallow them.”

What do pandas eat?
Sweet, sweet bamboo forms 99% of a panda’s diet. In captivity they’re known to get excited by oatmeal, cookies, and fruitsicles.

What eats pandas?
Pandas have no predators. Except humans. Sick humans. On the other hand, I gotta admit that panda cake does look very sweet.

What is a negative panda?
Pandas have bad luck. When a panda is struck by lightning, its black fur becomes white and its white fur black. Pandologists refer to such pandas as negative pandas.

Can you hug pandas?
Only on vacation. People think pandas are cute, and therefore they hug, but in reality, pandas are bears, and bears maul.

Where do pandas like to vacation?
There is a group of pandas in San Diego; see the pandacam.

What is a group of pandas called?
A group of bears is referred to as a sloth or sleuth. What’s the difference? A sloth of pandas are lazy but a sleuth of pandas are clever. No fingerprints? Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary.

What is a male panda called?
A male panda is called a boar. Because male pandas are boarish and moody by nature.

What sounds do pandas make?
Pandas bleat, bark, and whimper, like a lamb or a goat kid. Pandas also huff and growl, but don’t roar.

What noises do pandas make?
They have up to 12 ways of expressing themselves vocally. Including youtubian crunching and sneezing.

How do pandas fight?
Mostly lazy forward rolls. They do NOT know Kung Fu. Nor can they really dance.

How do pandas get around?
By Fiat. Seriously, pandas spend “16 hours a day eating, eight hours a day sleeping, and almost zero hours moving…” It’s an amazing life. Like a dream.

Are pandas good leaders?
Obey Butterstick. Use this FAQ to heed his pandic visage with pandavision.

Any relationship to polar bears?
None we’re willing to admit.

Does a solitary lifestyle make for sad panda?
None we’re willing to admit.

What is Flickr’s obsession with pandas that puke rainbows?
It is the stuff that nightmares are made of. Google it.

What do frequently asked questions about pandas have to do with Flickr and Google?

How are successful Google applications designed for pandas?

The kind of application that Google knows how to make well are the kind that embody the “eats, shoots, and leaves” model of Internet behavior. Pandas spend every waking hour foraging — aka searching — and consuming. The most successful Google applications serve such a utilitarian mandate, too: they encourage users to search for something, consume, and move onto the next thing. Get in, do your business, get out. Do a Google search, slurp down information, move on. Pull up Google maps or Gmail or Google news, do something, leave. Where Google does not excel is in making applications that are by their nature for lingering and luxuriating — the so-called social applications. But that is fodder for another post.


  1. Pandas have been on the planet roughly five times longer (1M yr) than humans have, so they will likely be more of a survival success than we are, measured by time before extinction. The only thing they haven’t been able to survive is the habitat destruction caused by us. As with most other large mammals, they were thriving before we showed up.

    Comment by Anonymous — July 14, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

  2. Andrew, that is a wise observation. I hope the pandas survive.

    Comment by Anonymous — January 5, 2011 @ 8:02 am

  3. Oh, and the "fodder for another post" did in fact become another post:http://ifindkarma.posterous.com/pandas-and-lobsters-why-google-cannot-build-s

    Comment by Anonymous — January 5, 2011 @ 8:03 am

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