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Friday, July 6, 2012

A Panda Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Here's a heart-warming story - and a brief lesson in English that is the equivalent (except in financial gain for myself) to the Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach To Punctuation book written by Lynne Truss that captured the attention of the news media back in 2003.

Panda born at Tokyo zoo for 1st time in 24 years
A panda has been born at a Tokyo zoo for the first time in 24 years. Tokyo's popular Ueno Zoo says the panda was born Thursday to Shin Shin, a 7-year-old brought to Japan from China just before Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami last year.
The gender of the baby panda was not immediately known. Zoo officials say the baby and the new mother appear to be in good health, but they'll be monitoring them around the clock. 

This is from The Mainichi newspaper, dated July 5, 2012. There was more to the story, of course. You can read the story HERE.

While I am not the most qualified person to be pointing fingers at grammatical errors, I am going to anyway, because this time it's not my error.

Look at the headline of the article: Panda born at Tokyo zoo for 1st time in 24 years.

Don't see it? Okay...where was that panda born the other times before being born in the zoo? It was born for the 1st time in 24 years.... so that implies there were other times it was born.

Yes, I know they meant pandas in general, and not a specific panda. The way it is written now infers that it is not "a panda", but rather "the" panda. 

Since it is easier to criticize others, at least let me offer a better solution:

"First panda birth at Tokyo zoo in 24 years" - that's 42 characters. Compare that to 48 characters used (including spaces) on the original headline celebrating the multiple births of this panda. And, should a longer headline be required to fill the space, one simply has to add a word: "First panda bear birth at Tokyo zoo in 24 years". That would take it up to 47 characters and avoid me writing this blog. Thanks for making me waste my time writing this blog entry. Thanks for making others waste their time reading this blog entry. Sorry. 

I should state that the panda bear is not related to the bear family, as it has skull, teeth and behavioral differences.  

I am glad, however, that the momma bear gave birth to what seems like a healthy cub. Hopefully the mother doesn't accidentally roll over on the cub, because that is a possibility. You see, pandas are, in my opinion, stupid. 

According to some brief research, pandas are smart enough to have changed their diet and their surroundings, which is a sign of some intelligence. Adapt or die.  

But despite the ability to adapt, the panda is simply not that interested in procreation. Actually, it's just the male panda that is lazy here. Take that fact into account and realize just why panda are on the Endangered Animals list.

It's endangered because it has been hunted, and its habitat has disappeared, but maybe the real reason it is on the list is because procreation does not seem to be high on its own bucket list (the things you do before you kick the bucket).

Yes... the male panda doesn't want to get down and furry, but that's a bigger problem because the female of the species only ovulates for three days in a year. Three days to possibly get pregnant, and the male is too lazy to want to try.

That sounds like nature is saying "I screwed up."

Here's more interesting pandamonium: Even if a panda should get lucky and get pregnant, there is a 45 per cent chance of twins. Good, right? Uh, no... seeing as how the mother is apparently incapable of looking after two cubs, one will be neglected and will die.

Wait - it get's better (or worse, depending on your point of view)! The mother panda is so disinterested in being a mother- even to a single cub - that it will often fail to recognize the mewling of its newborn and may kill it. I really wasn't kidding about the mother rolling over on top of the cub.

Want more data showing how stupid the cute panda is? Let's look at its food. It eats shoots and leaves - bamboo shoots and leaves, which explains my book reference at the top. Everything for a reason, right?

A panda can only process about 20 per cent of the low-nutrition bamboo that it eats. Now... an adult 250-pound panda eats 30 pounds of bamboo a day, which it does in nine hours. Nine hours to eat 12 per cent of its body weight in bamboo even though it could eat other foods faster to help it maintain its weight.

The best equivalent is a 180 pound man eating 22 pounds of celery even though the grocery store is nearby where you could get some meat. 

Like a real bear, a panda (and human) are designed to be omnivores. It chooses not to (like some humans), though I am not calling vegans stupid. At least a vegan will eat different vegetarian foods. A panda will eat bamboo for nine wasteful hours.

Scientists note that when a panda isn't eating, it sleeps a heck of a lot... and thus will actually put on weight... grow fat, if you will. In a zoo, a panda, because it won't eat anything except for bamboo shoots and leaves actually costs five times the cost of an African elephant to feed. And it doesn't put out.

That's a stupid animal.

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph, who is smarter than the average Yogi bear and even though he is overweight is sure he is smarter than a panda, mostly because he enjoys having sex. 


  1. What makes this all worthwhile, is that I misspelled PANDA in the fricking title!

  2. Yeah... It's good or funny news for you... But now my kid wants me to take him to Ueno Zoo to see the panda.... I hate going to the zoo.

    1. Now that the baby panda died, I guess you are off the hook.