The animal kingdom is overflowing with a plethora delightfully adorable little creatures. but very few are as darling as the panda. Their color scheme, fluffy fur, silly expressions, playful disposition and clumsiness all equate to an off the charts cuteness. Sometimes they honestly don't even look real, but rather cutesy cartoons. What's amazing is that there is actually a science behind why we think these amazing bears are so so precious, at least according to New York University psychologist Edgar E. Coons. Its called "hedonic mechanisms", which means that their features—large heads with big eyes, round faces, snub noses—make us think of babies, and we are preprogrammed to think babies are adorable. (How else could we deal with the crying, screaming, dirty diapers and sleepless nights?) I know that is science and all, but I have a different theory: they aren't real. They are just so cute, that they can't be. Here are 15 times pandas proved they aren't real animals.
15 Red Handed
This handsome little guy appears to be caught red handed, doing something he was definitely not supposed to do. I wonder what it was...perhaps he was snacking late night on that bamboo when he was supposed to be dieting. Or he stole that bamboo from another panda. His demeanor and expression are pretty human like if you ask me. The way his little hands are raised look just like how a person would raise his or her hands if they were caught by the cops, or trying to tell someone to back off. And his eyes look like someone who was caught doing something he wasn't supposed to do. That's a lot to read from an animal's eyes, but to me, they are completely depicting that. Can't you picture him saying "I didn't do it!" "It wasn't me!" "Calm down!" There are a ton of silly phrases that would just fit perfectly as a caption for this photo.
14 Help me Up!
Pandas help each other out in sticky situations just like human friends do! This photo looks like something we'd see in a Disney cartoon. If it were a scripted scenario, the storyline would be that the panda on top is calling out to its buddies to come up the tree, the one in the middle is just too out of shape to climb on its own, so its other friend is trying its damnedest to push its friend up, to no avail.
"Cmon, push me up!"
"Dude, you have to lose some weight!"
Scientists used to believe that pandas were solitary animals, but new studies are proving otherwise. And with numeours pictures like this out there, it's hard to deny that they enjoy hanging out with each other. It seems as if they are going to a lot of trouble trying to help each other get up that tree if they just wanted to be alone.
13 Bamboo Munchin'
Somehow pandas manage to make eating an adorable and captivating event. This one is just munching on a bamboo shoot, yet I can't stop watching. It's adorably comical. It actually kind of looks like a person in a panda suit. The way it is gripping the bamboo gives the illusion that it has thumbs, adding to the human aspect. But alas, those are not thumbs, just super big wrist bones that stand in for thumbs.
Pandas spend 12 hours a day eating, and these hungry furballs' diets consist of 99% bamboo shoots, the rest is mainly leaves. So they basically eat this stuff all day, err'day. Mmmm. The reason they eat so much is because bamboo doesn't have very many nutrients, and they digest just a fifth of what they consume, so they need a whole lot to stay healthy. Luckily for them they live in bamboo forests, so their meals don't require much effort.
12 Bashful Baby
When I first found this pic online, I didn't even believe it was a real panda. I mean, c'mon, the cuteness, the position, the expression, and of course the fact that it is in a house, I thought perhaps it was a toy. But then I poked around and saw that same panda in a bunch of different positions that only a real animal could make, and I realized it was in fact, a real live panda. They have a way of fooling us like that. This one is pretty young, and looks like it is being bashful. Pandas as a species are notoriously shy. Their markings help them blend in to the wild so they can't be seen. So I wonder if this little cutie is thinking that if it stays very still, no one will see it. Sorry, buddy, doesn't work against a hardwood floor and banister, but it is a valiant effort.
11 Strike a Pose!
I think that these pandas may be reenacting the photo my girlfriends and I took at the bar last Saturday. That one in the middle is totally hamming it up for the camera, the one balancing on her friend is giving her best sexy leg shot, the the one the far right is too drunk to even know what is going on, and the one on the far left is hiding in humiliation. Either that, or they are practicing for the varsity cheerleading tryouts. Whatever the case, their poses get an A+. For being "shy" creatures, they really do seem like they know how to have a good time when they all get together.
There are many names for group of pandas: a bamboo of pandas (named after their favorite, well, only, snack), a cupboard of pandas, or my personal favorite, an embarrassment of pandas. Coupled with that title, the ones in this shot resemble my girlfriends and I even more.
10 Clumsy Panda
This is what happens when a klutz gets gluttonous. Pandas are pretty clumsy creatures, so this panda was just setting itself up for failure. It is trying to doubt fist some bamboo while balancing on top of a stump that barely fits its large panda butt. It seems to get so excited that it overloads, and PLOP, panda goes down! I guess agility isn't really a necessity when you don't need to hunt for your food, and spend most of your time sitting around munching on bamboo. However, they do like to climb and spend a lot of their time in trees, so you'd expect they would have a better sense of balance.
Though I am really not one to talk. I am pretty damn klutzy myself (or as I like to refer to it, spacially challenged). I have a new bruise every day from bumping into one thing or another.
9 Cutie Pie!
This baby panda is out of this world adorbs! I can picture a baby human in the exact same position, sitting up on its butt, hands raised all silly like . And I don't care what you say, this fuzzy little munchkin is smiling.
When baby pandas are born they are itsy bitsy things! In fact, pandas give birth to the smallest babies in the mammal world. When these little ones are born, they only weigh three and half ounces! With such small babies, momma pandas have to be extra careful when carrying them around, and are known for being extremely gentle with their teeny young. She will hold her baby for most of the day, cupping it in her paw, or carrying it by mouth if she is on the move. And the babies are just as hungry as their adult counterparts, and cry for momma's milk every two hours.
8 Panda Poop
This panda looks as if it is either doing yoga, or trying to show off its private parts to onlookers. The way its curling its body while looking perfectly straight at someone or something is making me think the latter. That definitely doesn't look comfortable, especially since it's wedged between two branches. This photo came attached to an article about panda poop, so perhaps I am completely off and this panda is really just taking a poop. Seems like a bit of an extreme method to go number two, but hey, whatever works.
The aforementioned article from Zooillogiz states that a panda reserve in China, which has 40 pandas, discovered that a panda's poop is so jam packed with bamboo that it can make high quality paper. So they started looking for a mill to transform panda poop into stationary. That article was from 2007, and after additional research I found that their dreams have come to fruition. There's actually a product called Panda POOPOOPAPER. And it is exactly what it sounds like.
7 Sad Eyes
Just look at this face!! Try to tell me that this tiny panda doesn't have a human expression. Check out its mopey eyes, its straight mouth... it is all so childlike. I can picture it getting scolded by its parents, or trying to connive its parents into letting it stay up just a little later. If I look at this pic for too long, I get the feeling it is going to just start talking (and I can't help but envision Brother Bear's voice from the Berenstain Bears).
After panda cubs are weaned, which takes about a year, they keep living with Mama Panda for another six months. They leave her once she becomes pregnant again. If she doesn't get pregnant, they will stay with her for a max of two years. After that point they are the equivalent of a 30 year old living in the basement, and so she gives them the boot.
This captive panda is having a grand ole' time with its rocking horse. It doesn't seem to have a care in the world. It's pretty amazing how it figured out just how to use this toy. I guess it's because pandas as a species are very playful creatures—it is a big part of panda's growth. The are known to have a fondness for play with round shaped utensils and balls.
I thought this panda was unique with its choice of toy, but apparently numerous zoos overseas have had the same idea, and the pandas seem to take to them. Who would have thought!? I was always a fan of the rocking horse in my local park when I was a kid, until one day I was trying to show off and go wild on it, and was completely flung off of it like a rag doll in front of a bunch of older kids. Luckily pandas don't feel embarrassment... or do they?
5 Let's Play Some More
And just to reinforce the fact that pandas love to play, here are some pandas having a blast going down a slide. I want to know where this place is so I can go visit. How much fun would it be to go sliding with a bunch of fuzzy, happy adorable pandas? I want to be part of the panda pile up. That would be the best day ever!
Well, actually, maybe not. Despite how friendly they look in this video, pandas are not considered to be the cuddly creatures we assume they are. They still are bears and can be aggressive. And with their long canines and sharp claws, that can be pretty scary. However, these guys don't look too scary to me. I think those pesky scientists are wrong. I am going to find myself a panda buddy and hug him and squeeze him and take him to the park to play.
4 Dress Up Time
When this little panda from the city Yaman City in South West China was given a bamboo hat, he knew exactly what to do with it! The panda, who was only a few months old when this was taken, plopped it right on his little head and blocked his face from the beating sun. This was especially cute because the little dude looked just like a very famous panda - Po from the animated DreamWorks films Kung Fu Panda, who wears a hat just like this one. I don't blame him, Po is pretty awesome.
Most youngsters like to play dress up; my nephew lived in a Spiderman costume for a year straight and my son is constantly putting on one if his many super hero outfits. But he's a human... I never expected a panda cub to have that interest in common with him. But then again, they aren't real animals anyway.
3 The Queen
Ok, so maybe baby pandas aren't the only ones who like to play dress up. This panda is rocking her crown with conference. And as she should be, since she is in fact the Queen B. The panda, whose name is Basi, is a celebrity in her own right. She's the oldest panda alive in captivity. She was born in 1980, which makes her 37 years old. That may not seem all that old to some of you, (though I know for a lot of you, that is considered ancient) but 37 equates to over a 100 years old in panda years (and I know we can all agree that 100 is old). Aside from her age, Basi is famous for being chosen to be the model for Pan Pan, the mascot of the Beijing Asian Games.
While she may not be as active as she once was, she is still in relatively good heath, and happily celebrated her birthday in January of this year.
This baby panda seems wise beyond its years. It appears to be sitting in the corner, deep in thought, contemplating life. Or perhaps none of the other pandas in the school yard wanted to play with him. Poor little guy, you are too good for them anyway.
Fun fact: as of 1984, all pandas in captivity out of China are actually considered to be on loan from China. Yup, every single one. They are rented for the bargain price of $1,000,o00 per year!!! (That money goes to China's Wildlife Conservation Association.) And any cub that is born outside of China has to be shipped back to the mother land (this is usually done through Fed Ex). Prior to 1984, the Chinese government used to capitalize on the panda's cute factor and actually used pandas to schmooze and win favor, giving them out as gifts. Then they realized that they could make bank, and that was the end of that.
1 Hey Guys
Here is yet another cartoonish face that makes me smile. This panda appears to be waving to its adoring fans, or calling to an old friend. Or perhaps asking to be picked for softball.
Do you want to hear something pretty amusing? Way back in the day (and by this, I mean ancient days) the Chinese were actually pretty afraid of pandas. That's right, this goofy face would have incited terror in the heart of man. The Chinese people used to think that pandas were not bears, but rather metal eating monsters that were decedents of pigs. The pandas would come down from the mountains and enter the city by chewing through the nails of the city gates, and then go foraging for copper and utensils. (FYI their teeth are so strong that they actually can chew through metal, and copper, and we already know they love to play with utensils.)