Pandas are Dumb

I don’t think we should actively hunt pandas for sport, and I’m perfectly fine with feeding them at zoos and protecting them from communists. But within the field of endangered species I think we should admit that the dwindling number of wild pandas is at least partially their own fault. Pandas are an evolutionary dead end.

I’m pretty sure pandas would be declining without our intervention by now even if Bill Gates bought half of China and converted it into a bamboo plantation for them. The singular evolutionary advantage which pandas seem to have at their disposal is the ability to endear themselves to humans. For this I applaud them: pandas are good at picking winners.

Other than “cuteness,” however, pandas are the evolutionary equivalent of a sixth-year high school senior. I’m not surprised they’re declining.

Let’s consider some key facts about pandas:


1. Pandas are too stupid to eat meat.

Pandas are designed to be carnivores. They have carnivorous digestive systems and they’re taxonomically classified as carnivores. They have ursine (bear) teeth, and when they run out of bamboo will resort to eating meat, fish and eggs. Yet they eat bamboo anyway. A plant virtually devoid of energy or protein nutrients. Bamboo is so nutritionally useless that they have to eat it constantly, otherwise they would presumably slip into adorable starvation comas.

2. Pandas are lazy.

Pandas imbibe so little energy from eating bamboo that it affects their behavior, to the point that they socialize comparatively little and literally avoid walking up or down hills. They mostly just sit around, listlessly, thinking about bamboo.

3. Pandas are constantly pooping.

Pandas consume up to thirty pounds of bamboo shoots and leaves a day, with the logical result that they also poop on average forty times a day. Maybe instead of crapping themselves blind they should do something productive like grow bigger fangs, or set up mutual funds.


4. Pandas aren’t remotely horny.

A major part of every successful species is being horny. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to our own species’ obsession with cronking, but it was an absolute necessity for our hominid ancestors, as with all critters. If you aren’t making babies your numbers dwindle and you go extinct. Make babies!

Not pandas, though. Unsurprisingly, these slothful bears have little interest in mating with each other. Their pitiful libido has been so frustrating to zoo keepers that scientists have done everything from showing them pornographic panda videos, to giving doses of Viagra to males. All for naught.


5. Pandas are miserable parents.

Pandas are only vaguely interested in mating in the wild, and totally apathetic about it in captivity. Basically every few years if pandas run out of good TV shows to watch they will reluctantly agree to slow, boring humping as a sort of temporary diversion. If by some stroke of luck this lackluster romp results in fertilization, pregnancy is so minimal on panda physiology that often-times the female has no idea she’s pregnant. She might birth the cub unknowingly, then roll over and crush it while sleeping. In fact “crushing” is a perennial problem of the panda world– in 2006 a panda mother fell asleep on top of her cub, crushing it to death.

Most panda pregnancies result in twins. Even if the pandas don’t inadvertently sit on the newborns or drive off with them sitting on the trunk of their car, in the wild they will let one of the pair die anyway. They pick the strongest-looking twin and keep feeding it, and the other twin expires.

What’s to be Done?

Yes, we should expand panda biomes. And if someone wants to pony up the cash, I will personally fly over the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuary and toss Viagra pills out of my chopper like I’m throwing candy corn in a street parade. And there’s probably still a lot we don’t know about the finer plot and character development necessary to make believable, enticing panda porn.

But I’ve got an even better idea. Do you know what animal we’re not worried about? Labrador retrievers. Dogs are cute as well, and we’ve bred them to be docile and perform tricks for our amusement. (Technically so have cats, but I don’t particularly care for cats.)

So this is my proposal: let’s create a new subspecies using the unwanted panda twins. Rather than letting the runt twin linger and die, we should send in the zoologist equivalents of the Green Beret to scoop up the neglected panda cubs as soon as they’re denied milk. Then we fly them to Taiwan to let proper free market Chinese scientists tinker with their genomes until we make a new house pet.

Since pandas are lazy and poop all the time, I don’t think there’s much of a chance that we could make guard pandas. And while I would certainly pay to watch panda racing, it’s a functional non-starter because pandas are the fat kids of the bear universe and it would be difficult to compel them to chase bamboo.

My proposal is that we figure out how to potty train them, then develop “house pandas.” House pandas would be vastly superior to “house cats,” in that they are both cuter and also judge me less. Since they weigh over two hundred pounds and dislike moving, we could probably teach them to act as cuddly, self-warming bean bags.


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Andrew Heaton is a writer and standup comedian in New York City. If this post made you laugh or think, kindly "like" it on Facebook.


  • PandaLover360
    October 31, 2011 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    [nuts to] you man pandas [really really] rock you eat [untasty things] and die

    *comment edited by Heaton

    • November 23, 2011 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Well I guess I don’t have to spend the weeenkd figuring this one out!

  • Mikenator
    October 31, 2011 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    @Pandalover – This article is clearly meant to be funny, asshole. Get a sense of humor before you go on a message boards.

  • eddie
    October 31, 2011 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

    verrfy funny! i will remember this next time i go to the zoo!

  • Gwen
    November 1, 2011 - 9:23 am | Permalink


  • Alicia Jordan
    November 2, 2011 - 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Panda Bears are so lazy they are not even technically “bears.”

  • Sandy
    November 2, 2011 - 3:35 pm | Permalink


  • l putnam
    November 4, 2011 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    I too wonder about a species that refuses to mate, great point!!! maybe the black and white bears can profit from the little blue pill?

  • Bozzy
    November 4, 2011 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    Phyllis doesn’t judge you!

    November 10, 2011 - 9:34 am | Permalink TELL ME YOU STILL HATE PANDAS.

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  • November 16, 2011 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I really badly want a house panda now. It’s the only way forward. I bet they don’t even taste nice.

  • PandaFan73
    November 16, 2011 - 6:05 pm | Permalink


    • Swinger
      November 16, 2011 - 9:12 pm | Permalink

      @PandaFan73 – PandaLover was funny, you’re just milking it dry

      • November 23, 2011 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Free info like this is an apple from the tree of kneowdlge. Sinful?

  • pandahater
    November 16, 2011 - 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Yes! I have been saying this for years. Thank you for blowing the top off of this!

    • November 23, 2011 - 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Articles like this just make me want to visit your weibste even more.

  • Kyle
    November 17, 2011 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I vote we raise them to be a new livestock that we butcher and eat. I’d totally eat a panda.

    • Rural AR Mom
      August 6, 2012 - 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Certainly worked for cows. Ever hear about the iminent extication of cows (or sheep, horses, chickens)? USA has a decent track record of protecting the species it feeds on from extinction. (Except fish. Unless you count only catfish and salmon, we don’t do much large scale fish farming.)

      • Heaton
        August 6, 2012 - 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Mmmm… “McPanda Burgers.”

        If you think about it, agricultural production -would- be helping the the fight against extinction. Also, if they produce less methane, better for the environment than cows. But I’m not sure. As noted above, they do poop a lot.

  • Panda's are cute
    November 22, 2011 - 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I think this was really funny. And I like Pandas. They are cool but do have their problems. I would have a House panda if the scientist would breed them smaller… which I know they could.

  • November 24, 2011 - 2:06 am | Permalink

    I literally jumped out of my chair and danecd after reading this!

  • Richie
    December 29, 2011 - 1:04 am | Permalink

    Says the guy who owns a website and spends time writing meaningless articles.

  • Jacob
    January 20, 2012 - 4:18 pm | Permalink

    But if the Panda is made to be super intelligent they wont mate either! I think the best way to make them reproduce is feed them beer and let them watch NASCAR. It seems that is what it takes to start a species reproducing uncontrollably. The only problem is, they will still be dumb.

  • May 31, 2012 - 1:37 am | Permalink

    Have you given any thought at all with converting your current web page in to Spanish? I know a several of translaters right here that will would certainly help you do it for free if you wanna contact me.

  • August 8, 2012 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Pandas suck.

  • SegwaySteve
    September 17, 2012 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Is this where you eat Panda’s?

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  • Emma
    December 14, 2012 - 4:27 pm | Permalink

    This is so mean to pandas. Pandas are going extinct in the wild because people hurt their environment and give up on the plight of the pandas. I don’t want pandas to go extinct because of people like you telling everyone that pandas are stupid. And to the people that said they would want to eat pandas you should be ashamed of yourself.Pandas are China’s national treasure and there are so many laws protecting pandas if you ate one you would go to jail for a long, long time. Save the pandas!!!

  • Emma
    January 6, 2013 - 6:54 pm | Permalink

    As a panda conservationist I believe this is a very naive view point. You say pandas a “too stupid to eat meat”. In fact they hve evolved to eat bamboo as it is in plentiful supply whereas meat is not so readily available. Also, pandas are a vital part of the Chinese Eco system and in scientific terms are very unique and amazing species. All earth creatures deserve to be saved, and it’s not your place to think otherwise. People are out there risking their lives in forgin worlds for species, you need to give them some credit.

  • Bill
    June 25, 2013 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I wish Emma was going extinct

  • Bill
    June 25, 2013 - 12:11 pm | Permalink


    I wish Emma’s were going extinct…

    terrible name + “Panda Conservationist” has to be the most ironically-retarded self-given title I’ve ever heard (Ur not conserving shit… ur just advocating the waste of MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars on a stupid animal that is not vital to anything. This money should be going towards things like Cancer/AIDS Research or maybe to starving children in Africa.)

    -Birthday Balloon Conservationist

  • panda
    July 21, 2013 - 9:57 pm | Permalink

    your an idiot

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    December 25, 2014 - 2:42 am | Permalink

    Idk what your beef with Pandas are, but you’re ignorance is apauling. You should jump off the next available bridge.

    December 25, 2014 - 2:44 am | Permalink


  • Matt Thomas
    February 2, 2015 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    Looks like we got some panda comments on here.

  • Pandasociety
    January 21, 2016 - 11:19 pm | Permalink

    I watch panda cam every night to check up on their lifestyle . All they do is sit around and eat. Every single time I log on, they’re either eating or slouching off. I wish I can have that kind of life. I wish I can be a panda in my next life.