Panda Updates – Wednesday, January 20
I know when I first started working with the giant pandas, bamboo was simply bamboo, and it all looked yummy enough for me if I were a giant panda. Oh man, work a day with these giant pandas, and you will quickly learn that is not the case! It is incredible how what we may think looks like the perfect piece of bamboo is just sort of tolerable. The giant pandas will eat not only different species of bamboo during different seasons, but also different parts of the bamboo. Currently we are seeing a good mix of them eating the leaves and the culms (the main stalk of the bamboo). A big part of what they will eat depends on if the bamboo is younger or older. Young bamboo will have yummy leaves, and older bamboo will have yummy culms. We care team members and our Bamboo Team can visually check to see what the pandas may prefer, but unfortunately, they have one sense that is way better at detecting this: their sense of smell! Giant pandas have an amazing sense of smell and will hold the bamboo in front of their noses to decide if that piece of bamboo is worth it. So, try as we might by looking at the leaves, the culms, and what type of bamboo we offer, we will never be able to smell out the perfect piece of bamboo the giant pandas want. Luckily, we have a great Bamboo Team to bring us all sorts of bamboo that our giant pandas love!
(photo by Adrianna L.)
Keeper II, Mammals