A visit to the Woodley Park Zoo, Washington D.C.
08.09.2010 - 13.09.2010 80 °F
I learned some interesting facts about the eating habits of the Giant Panda while I was visiting the Woodley Park Zoo in Washington D.C. this past weekend. Panda, which translates to "eater of bamboo" in Nepalese is a rather suitable name for an animal that can spend up to 16 hours a day consuming bamboo. Feel free to verify this information for yourself at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park website, I did! According to the website Giant Pandas spend an alarming 10-16 hours a day eating bamboo!! The reason for this is that Giant Pandas have an inefficient digestive system for digesting bamboo therefore causing most of the bamboo that is eaten to be passed through their bodies as well, you know. So in order to get enough nutrients they must consume about 20-40 pounds of bamboo a day!! Bamboo also makes up 99% of the Giant Panda's diet! Believe me, I wish I were joking, at least for Mei Xiang and Tian Tian's sake!
Even if I could choose to eat my absolute favorite food, ice cream, in any flavor I wanted for the rest of eternity while still being able to get all of the essential nutrients to maintain a healthy diet and not gain weight, I am guessing that I would be sick of ice cream within 6 months. At the absolute most, a year!! Let's see, Rocky Road for breakfast, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for lunch, maybe a little Coconut Pineapple for a late afternoon snack, and then top it all off with some Pecan Praline for dinner! However mouthwatering that may sound, and although I'm almost curious enough to test this out for myself, I am almost positive that my love for ice cream would soon diminish.
I find it rather unfortunate that Giant Pandas can't enjoy the selection of food that we humans take for granted daily. Bring on the Pad Thai or maybe a little Malaysia curry soup. I'll take Indian, Korean, Italian, Middle Eastern, or Costa Rican any day over fresh, crispy bamboo! Give me a gigantic Chipotle burrito with guacamole or a falafel and hummus whole wheat pita sandwich please!
Dear Giant Pandas,
I'm sorry that your taste buds will never experience anything outside the realm of bamboo. May you never know the true extent of the amount of sweet and savory flavors that fill the world, and more importantly your continent. And may your appetite for other food one day evolve so that you may enjoy all of the amazing food life has to offer.