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Sep. 13, 2011

It’s a Dirty Job, But Someone’s Gotta Poop It

by Sam Flatow

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Pandas are lazy. Don’t get angry at me, I don’t make up the rules to this crazy game called Life, nobody does. Not even pandas – they’re too lazy. They’re SO lazy they don’t even hibernate. They don’t have dens! Pandas just pass out wherever they want: up a tree, the floor of a Grateful Dead concert, on your couch even though you’ve got work tomorrow morning and you barely know this guy and he totally smells like he peed everywhere (which is something they love to do by the way).

They’re also unemployed. Listen, times are tough, but you’re telling me that not one of them can get a real job? I don’t believe it. And no, I’m not including breeders. Those spotted slackers can’t even get that right.

But that’s not the peak of panda passivity. Pandas are SO lazy they don’t digest their own food, microbes do it for them. The panda stomach is made for a carnivore, and since their diet is almost entirely bamboo, they can’t process it. Imagine if your impromptu sofa-guest asked if you could nuke some left over pizza for him, to which you mumble “Gee, want me to eat it for you too?” and he goes “YES PLEASE” and then flops over on the couch snoring. This is what it’s like for a panda all day because that’s what they do, laze around and let someone else do all the tough stuff.…also, there is pee EVERYWHERE.
*Warning: Video contains uncensored panda nudity.*

Seriously panda, what are you doing?

All they’re good for is pooping. Luckily, pooping is good. Scientists have found that the very bacteria that do all the digestive work for pandas could also be great for making ethanol, and these microbes can be found in panda droppings. Good news for us, because now we don’t need that dirty oil – we got panda turds! – and it’s good news for the panda, as he gets a job doing what he loves to do (nothing). It’s like being paid to donate blood, except instead of saving lives you’re literally making the world poop-ier.

Now all we have to do is make sure panda poo doesn’t get outsourced to China…

About Sam Flatow

Sam is an assistant producer at Science Friday where he prepares the tasty SciFri snacks and blogs about smart cephalopods and zombie ants.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Science Friday® and SciFri® are registered service marks of Science Friday, Inc. Site design by Pentagram; engineering by Mediapolis.

 

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