Panda Updates- Monday, July 31
Giant pandas have so many fascinating traits – including a trait that mature female pandas experience once a year, pseudopregnancy. Mel S. shares more:
“The key part of the word ‘pseudopregnancy’ is, of course, ‘pseudo,’ which is Latin for ‘not genuine or false.’ What this means for mature female pandas is that their bodies still go through the physiological changes of a pregnancy, even when they are not pregnant. Their bodies will produce all the same hormones needed to sustain a pregnancy even when they are not carrying a fetus. Behaviorally, pandas that are in pseudopregnancy will spend more time nest building and sleeping and less time foraging for bamboo.
Lun Lun has recently started to show signs that she is starting her yearly pseudopregnancy. She has been choosing to spend more time sleeping in her behind-the-scenes den, where she has started nest building behaviors. Of course, Lun Lun is not pregnant. As most of our panda fans know, we announced more than five years ago that we would no longer be pursuing breeding with Lun Lun and Yang Yang in consideration of their ages (both were entering their 20s at that time). However, her body still goes through this interesting physiological change.
The Panda Care Team provides her with nesting materials so she can create a cozy spot to sleep in. Lun Lun typically spends about six weeks in pseudopregnancy, and because she likes to hunker down in her den during her pseudopregnancy, she is not as visible to guests during this time.”
Unrelated to her pseudopregnancy, we have had some fans ask recently how Lun Lun’s eyes are doing, recalling that last month, we shared that our Veterinary Team was treating her for age-related eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma. Our Veterinary Team shares that Lun Lun’s eye condition is stable and will be managed via long-term treatment. The team monitors her closely and adjusts medications as needed to ensure that she is comfortable.
p(photo: Jenny E.)