Panda Updates – Wednesday, November 14
If you have followed the pandas for a while, you’ll know that giant pandas are creatures of habit. They like to munch on bamboo throughout the day, and if the bamboo isn’t quite up to their standards, they are quick to let their care staff know. This can sometimes lovingly earn them the title of “finicky,” and we’re fortunate to have some tricks up our sleeves to encourage them to eat even when the bamboo isn’t perceived by them to be perfect. Another interesting food-related title that giant pandas often receive is “food neophobic.” This means that they aren’t really keen to try new foods, especially if it is something they have never encountered before. We recently began transitioning the giant pandas to a new type of leafeater biscuit, and they have been slow to decide if the new biscuits are, indeed, food. This is where the amazing creativity of care staff comes in handy, as the panda team painstakingly makes biscuit balls for the pandas each day.
So what are biscuit balls? They are a specific ratio of old biscuit to new biscuit, softened into mush, and rolled into balls. It takes a decent amount of time every day to make biscuit balls for four pandas, and as the ratio of old biscuits decreases, care staff have begun offering whole new biscuits on occasion. Lun Lun and Ya Lun were the first to decide that these new biscuits just *might* be edible. Not to be outdone, Yang Yang and Xi Lun have also decided to give the biscuits a try, much to the excitement of the panda team! None of them are completely sold on the idea yet, but this is definitely progress.
Keeper II, Mammals