Pandas – Epic Fail

I recently read a short story about pandas, watched 2 documentaries on pandas, and enjoyed Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2 .  In my newfound expertise, have come to the conclusion that pandas are entirely pathetic creatures. First off, 99% of their diet is bamboo–delicious and not at all nutritious.  A true bear, they have carnivore specific genes, carnivore teeth, and a carnivore digestive system, so they derive even less energy and protein from their food.  They can’t hibernate for the winter because there is no way for them to store up enough fat.  They don’t like moving around much.  And they avoid mountains because it takes too much energy to climb.  Males weigh up to 350 lbs.  Females up to 280.  They eat 20-30 lbs of bamboo shoots a day and can poop, with all that good roughage, up to 40 times a day.  The rest of the Panda’s diet, the 1%, is other grasses, wild tubers, small birds, rodents, or carrion.

Pandas have very short life spans and sexually productive periods.  They lose interest in mating once captured.  Even in the wild they can’t raise more than one cub at a time–if more than one cub is born one is left to die–because their milk is so low in nutrition.  And the cubs need nutrition.  They start out pink, blind and furless, at a whopping 3.5-4.6 ounces.

In contrast, black bears weigh around 300 lbs and will eat nearly anything.  Polar bears eat almost nothing but meat and weigh up to 1500 lbs.  Grizzly bears also weigh up to 1500 lbs.


When my brother was in ninth grade he told me something that has stuck with me.  The best stories are those in which normal everyday people discover something about themselves, something special, some heritage, special skill, or destiny, that launches them into a life of adventure, excellence, and self-fulfillment.

I guess I am waiting for the Giant Panda to remember it’s a kickass bear.

About Jer Clifton

Look up, friend. The world is too beautiful for my eyes alone. View all posts by Jer Clifton

8 responses to “Pandas – Epic Fail

  • Jer

    I never get my info on wikipedia (ok, I might get all my info on wikipedia : )

    Yeah, millions of years of sucking at being a bear! I think their thumbs are also more dextrous than with other bears.

  • Nathan C. Clifton

    I am assuming that you got some of your info from wikipedia. It states that pandas have lived this way for millions of years. I think evolution has let them down. Apparently their lone adaptations are a round face, slowness and bacteria. Don’t evolve like a panda! Also, Jon is a philosophical representation on David Attenborough. I now find value and pleasure in an animal that before I did not care about.

  • Jonathan Weaver

    Panda’s are to other bears as monks and nuns are to other humans. They are all about zen and mental perfection. They are pondering the imponderable while they munch on bamboo. They would never hurt another animal. Also, they try to avoid the carnal pleasures of reproduction. They are trying to teach us something, if we would only listen.

  • Nathan C. Clifton

    Apparently 9th grade Nathan is smarter and more memorable than his current model. There are lots of great metaphors here. Its funny to think that somewhere in the past there was a black and white bear who started eating bamboo because she fell out of a tree and taught her cubs to eat it and… How many stupid traditions do we hold on to? I am waiting for dude to tell you that your post is garbage and that Panda’s are awesome. C’mon dude, you are not going to let him get away with this sentimental Lion King crap are you? Ha ha, great post.

    • Jer

      Others actually came up with the title ; )

      Yeah, right? What do I know about biology, but it makes me think that if they started eating meat right now, and hunting, they could be energetic creatures. Constant diarrhea can take it out of you… : )

  • Linda

    great post….and likewise, working with people who have ruined their bodies with “bamboo” like substances (yet lacking the fiber!) I wait for them to realize they are kick-ass humans, capable of feeling and being so much more! So thanks for the vivid, humorous and informative read!

  • Ben

    loved this one!!!! well-written. thanks for the chuckles.

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