Hey, nothing can be lazier than a sloth, no? I mean, sloths are so lazy, they have plants on their back. Yet, it turns out, someone out there is even too lazy to eat – the giant panda. So, now we know who the real sloth of the animal kingdom is.
The coining of the term “couch potato” may well be linked to a giant panda, as that is exactly what these furry creatures look like when they’re laying low and just enjoying life. Now, don’t get me wrong, the pandas do eat, it’s just that they could be eating a whole lot more – but don’t.
And it’s not because they aren’t hungry, or because they cannot eat anything apart from bamboo. It is because they are too lazy to.
If fact, as recent studies show, Panda’s stomachs are not suited for bamboo diets. Pandas get very little nutritional value from the bendy tree. It’s like bamboo is the junk food of pandas. Imagine yourself just sitting around all day eating potato chips. That is what the giant pandas do.
A study published in Science journal discovered that the gentle bears only use about 38 percent of the amount of energy used by smaller-sized animals. The pandas were found to consume less energy than a koala – which is itself a pretty lazy animal. The authors concluded that the levels of energy consumed per day resembles those of the three-toed sloth.
The results are not surprising when we consider that, in any given day, the panda is at rest more than half of the time, and only walks about twenty meters per hour before sitting down again.
Lead researcher, biologist Fuwen Wei mentioned that pandas evolved to have this low metabolism through several factors: genetic adaptations of morphological, psychological, and behavioral nature. Pandas therefore have smaller brains, smaller kidneys, and smaller livers than other bears. The level of their thyroid hormones is very, very low for a mammal. It resembles that of a black bear in hibernation.
The study concludes that the only reason why pandas survive on a diet made up 99 percent of bamboo is their sluggish attitude, typically determined by their low thyroid hormone level.
It is a known fact that panda’s ancestors were carnivorous, and that the panda has the ability to eat a lot of other stuff apart from bamboo, yet scientists remain puzzled as to why the panda has evolved to be so lazy.