The truth about red pandas

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This is Toby, a red panda at Houston Zoo. This article lead to this comment:

Don't be fooled. The Red Panda's "cuteness" is simply a reflection of the human tendency to anthropomorphize animals. In reality, the Red Panda is a vicious omnivore, willing to eat (or try to eat) anything it can put into its mouth. Packs of Red Pandas have been know to strip live elk calves to nothing but bone in mere minutes. These predators are primarily nocturnal, and a Red Panda roused from sleep during daylight hours will attack anything that moves, ripping and shredding interlopers with razor-sharp teeth and claws. Red Pandas also are known for their voracious sexual appetites, being one of the few mammals besides humans who copulate outside of estrous. Researchers note that the Red Panda's mating ritual is little more than a "rape orgy" of aggressive males overpowering and mating with equally-aggressive females. Many Red Pandas die during these sessions, and surviving pandas typically eat the corpses of their fallen pack-mates once the mating has completed.

In short, stay clear of Red Pandas in the wild, and don't provoke the creatures in captivity.

The humor in this was lost on another commentor.

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I would have thought so. But what about that baby pink fox you posted last week? Surely the same applies. That huge-eared little sucker would rip your arm off.

By Terry Hummer (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

@ Terry

As long as you never feed it after midnight, you're ok.

Maybe sciBlogs should have it's own recipe site.

Yeah, we got pharyngula, but (wo)man canot live on troll alone.

@ #4

Pity this article was about *Red* pandas then...

By John Lynch (not verified) on 06 Mar 2009 #permalink

To be fair, most people are only vaguely aware of red pandas and whether they are related to giant pandas. (They look raccoon-like to me.) So they probably don't know what they eat.

There's at least one video on YouTube of a Panda grabbing the jacket of someone who sits close to its cage and forcibly stripping it off him.

@John

I was making the point that people tend to view "cute" animals (like Red Pandas) as benevolent, to their detriment. Giant Pandas just happen to be the ones I'm interested in, since they seem to be almost the universal symbol of cute and fuzzy, yet can be quite vicious. Not quite as cute and fuzzy as kittens, but far more dangerous.