Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Pandas, the Eastern Scourge

Pandas, by which I specifically mean the Giant Panda or Ailuropoda melanoleuca for the taxonomically inclined amongst us. What are they all about?

I mean, seriously - What the flip is going on with them? - A decent sized Panda weighs about the same as a small Grizzly Bear (about 25st) they've got huge teeth and claws, big enough to tear you limb from limb in a heartbeat, Yet they seem to be the sweetest natured animals on the face of the Earth - I tried (for research purposes - Try typing Angry Panda into Google, it just feels weird) to find instances of angry pandas - And could pretty much only find evidence of one pretty grumpy one called Gu-Gu who bit three people who got into his enclosure, one of whom bit him back! - I'm guessing he was only upset because he was named after the first words the zookeeper's baby said.

There's a video on YouTube that comes up when you search, I wouldn't bother watching it, it's pretty much a Panda barking and waving his paws at a couple of other Pandas who got too close to his pile of bamboo. If that's what goes for an 'Angry Panda' nowadays, I think they need to change the title to 'Somewhat miffed Panda coughs politley and points out what is obviously his lunch'.

Then you've got the whole bamboo thing! Pandas have huge carnivore teeth, rippey, bitey, tearey teeth for eating goats and yetis and other things you'd find in the mountains... But no, they eat bamboo which has less nutrient qualities than celery and you need a completely different set of teeth to eat it successfully. They have to eat about a tenth of their bodyweight a day, in bamboo, to get anything out of it - Where's the sense in that?

Luckily they're not completely stupid they do supplement their diet in the wild with the occasional bit of carrion and.. erm... grass and bees and stuff probably, but still, they should ideally be hiding in trees, pretending to be.. erm.. [Insert name of huge black and white thing you'd expect to find in a tree and wouldn't seem strange at all] by the side of secluded trails, dropping down on unsuspecting sherpas and eating their brains with a spoon. (Oh... Zombie Panda.. File that under 'Next Flash Fiction story ideas')

You know, in captivity, they feed them cupcakes? - Not all the time I grant you, but all the same, feeding the cutest animal in the world with the cutest food item in the world - It's amazing that anyone accidentally seeing this spectacle doesn't just explode by achieving critical cuteness. You can picture the scene -

[Chinese] 'And here ladies and gentlemen, you will see Mung Mung being fed blueberry muffins by my lovely assistant Doof Lee Chung' (Noises off: series of small, wet explosions from the direction of the crowd) 'No! it's happening again! put down the cupcakes Lee Chung... Put down the Aaarggghh!' [/Chinese] Fade to black

Oh yes, another thing that I didn't know before today... They've got thumbs (kinda) and if evolution goes their way, then it won't be long, in a geological sense, before they start to use them... I don't mean hitch-hiking their way out of the bamboo line and going for a trot down Peking High Street, I mean fashioning bamboo into swords and shields and inventing coconut powered lasers and suchlike.

And Kung-Fu Panda is a very real concern, you know how they let gorillas watch TV in the zoos to keep them entertained? What if they do the same with Pandas - They maybe already do... One day, Ping Chin Min the Panda wrangler decides that it's Bloop Bloop's birthday and he could do with a bit of cheering up, sticks on Disney's finest and before you know it, you've got 350lbs of black and white fury spinning around it's enclosure flinging cupcakes at people and playing Tenacious D guitar solos! Don't laugh guys, it's stuff like this that keeps me awake at night.

It wouldn't take much for an evil genius to make an unstoppable army of Pandas would it?

I for one, welcome our monochrome overlords with open arms. Now... Where's that cupcake recipe?

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