The Panda who Faked her Pregnancy…or Did She?

PANDA-Si Xue birth

Giant Panda’s Faking Pregnancy

Recently, I read an article, I can’t remember where it was, but I do remember the articles message. It said that a specific female panda was intentionally faking pregnancy, in order to get more food from her caregivers.

This story was very cute, and heartwarming, and it did go viral because everybody was able to get a good laugh, but it’s important to really understand an animal’s behaviors in order to understand them. By taking the time to dig deep into an animal, like this Giant Panda’s actions, we can truly comprehend the bio-behavioral norms of the species.

What many onlookers found adorable, was actually a phenomenon common in Giant Pandas, or Ailuropoda melanoleuca, called pseudopregnancy. It’s symptoms are entertaining, but truthfully it makes the Giant Pandas species survival that much more difficult. Pseudopregnancy is when a female has the same symptoms of being pregnant, and can stump researchers. Ultrasounds are unable to detect the presence of a fetus until much further along, and the fake pregnancy symptoms make it extremely difficult for that particular female to have reproductive success because their window is 1-3 days long.

All in all, what many brushed off as a panda faking pregnancy, was most likely a female experiencing pseudopregnancy, or unfortunately the female could’ve been pregnant, but pregnancy loss is also extremely high in Giant Pandas and can overall go undetected.

***All Information can be found in research articles compiled in the text “Giant Pandas: Biology and Conservation” which was Edited by Donald Lindburg and Karen Baragona