Science Explains Why Pandas Have So Little Sex : (


They’re the cutest things on earth. Unfortunately, though, this species called Ailuropoda melanoleuca is now endangered. Well if you think that’s only because of external factors, you’re wrong. Let’s see why pandas are not “doing it."


It’s mainly because they have lousy libidos. They muster about as much enthusiasm for sex as a human does for a root canal.

In part because of those lousy libidos, the world’s giant panda population is very small.

This photo is from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, or simply Chengdu Panda Base, which is a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals. As the name suggests, their job is to help these animals reproduce.

They say “saving the giant panda from extinction is of the utmost urgency."

Well, we can't say pandas are really appreciating the effort, though. It doesn't seem like they’re giving a sh*t...

What’s the reason, then? Why are they so un-frisky? Chinese scientists have been studying that question for decades. (China owns all of the world’s pandas, including the few that have been born abroad to parent pandas lent out for hefty fees to foreign zoos.)

Panda biology is part of the problem. Females enter estrus (their sexual cycle) only once a year, for a very short time in the spring. They are receptive and fertile for just 24 to 72 hours.

A male panda needs to make his move then or wait for a whole other year. “There is perhaps no mammal that is less often in the mood for sex than the female giant panda,” Scientific American said in a 2012 article.

Pandas are also picky: They only want to get down when they have really hit it off with a partner, and that rarely happens.

Captivity is a real mood-killer, too. According to the director of one research center in Sichuan, less than 5 percent of male pandas in captivity can naturally mate. Other researchers say captive female pandas are often unable to enter estrus normally.

In response, Chinese scientists have tried to alter the captive pandas’ habitats to better simulate life — and libido — in the wild.

And then there’s the innocence problem.

Panda sex happens so infrequently that the act is almost never witnessed by other pandas, leaving them with very little notion of how to go about it, researchers say. In hopes of cluing them in, scientists have taken to showing them “panda porn.”

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