Thursday, July 9, 2015

Why are pandas so lazy?
Video: Why are pandas so lazy?

By Hanae Armitage
9 July 2015

Giant pandas seem to have mastered the art of leisure. They don’t move much, and when they do, it’s usually to eat. Now, for the first time, researchers have measured the amount of energy that pandas expend daily, or their daily energy expenditure (DEE). 

The study, published online today in Science, finds the DEE to be surprisingly low—5.2 megajoules (MJ) instead of the predicted 13.8 MJ—ranking almost identically with that of the notoriously lazy three-toed sloth (about 5 MJ).

A 90-kg panda expends less than half the energy of an equally weighted human; even a person standing motionless still has a higher metabolic rate than an “active” panda. 

The reason? The panda’s diet requires it. Though its digestive system is built for a carnivore, the giant panda survives almost exclusively on bamboo, making digestion an inefficient process. To fulfill nutrient needs, pandas eat heaping quantities of bamboo, anywhere from 9 kg to 18 kg a day. 

Because this diet provides so few nutrients, pandas need to slow things down. 
That means not moving a lot; harboring smaller energy-sucking organs like the liver, brain, and kidneys; and producing fewer thyroid hormones, which slows their metabolism. 

Sure, we humans move around a lot more—but we don’t have to eat bamboo all day.

(Video credit: [Producer/editor] Sarah Crespi; [Research images] Y. Nei et al., Science 2015; [Stock footage] Pond5)
Posted in Biology, Plants & Animals
Science| DOI: 10.1126/science.aac8822


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Name the New Baby Pandas Contest

Question: What takes two hands to hold and is black and white and red all over?
(Hint: It’s not a newspaper.)
Answer: Red panda cub twins.

WATCH: These baby red panda twins need names

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Red Panda Twins

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Red Panda Twins

National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore

OCTOBER 7, 2013

Red Pandas, Lincoln Children's Zoo

Twin three-month-old red pandas (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) huddle together at the Lincoln Children's Zoo. Sartore photographed the pair as part of his Photo Ark project, through which he is documenting thousands of rare species.

"Half of all the species on Earth could be headed irreversibly toward extinction by 2100. Not if I can help it," Sartore says. "That's the idea behind the Photo Ark: getting the public to look these creatures in the eye, then care enough to save them while there's still time."

Learn more about the Photo Ark and see more pictures from the project.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Panda Imposter

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


More Cute Panda Photos