Pandas – how very dull

It’s school holidays, so I took the strangelings to Adelaide Zoo today, to see the giant pandas. Given our planned departure at the end of the year, I thought that I ought to make the effort to get to see the pandas, much touted as the only pandas in the southern hemisphere. Whatever.

There’s been some discussion about some pandas being sent to do a stretch in a zoo in New Zealand, and Wellington Zoo seems to be lining itself up for the job. I wouldn’t. Based on what we saw today, they are deeply boring animals, who are only revered because they benefit from small cute furry animal syndrome. “Oh, it’s so cute! We must save it!” But really, all they do is eat…

(Description: short clip of giant panda leaning back and chewing bamboo.)

… and sleep …

Giant panda sprawled over rock, asleep.

(Description: Giant panda sprawled over rock, asleep. My apologies for the poor picture quality: the shot was taken through a window.)

… and shpoop.

Panda poop, looking like nothing so much as hay matted together with cow poo, with a few large chunks of undigested bamboo through it

(Description: panda poop, looking like nothing so much as hay matted together with cow poo, with a few large chunks of undigested bamboo through it.)

Deadly dull. However I suspect that they would be even more deadly dull had we stood in line for half-an-hour before getting in to see them. Adelaide Zoo does not charge extra to see the pandas, but it does ration space in the enclosure, and you need to book a time slot. We arrived at the zoo just 10 minutes or so after it opened, and walked straight in to see the pandas. By the time we left at 2pm, the queue was several hundred metres long, wending Disney-style past other displays to alleviate boredom, but no doubt still tedious. Should you be planning to go to Adelaide Zoo to see the pandas, I recommend an early start.


8 comments on “Pandas – how very dull

  1. mimbles says:

    Meerkats. Give me meerkats every time. They never disappoint.

  2. donnasoowho says:

    I like Chimpanzees best. Could watch them for hours.

  3. Charlotte says:

    This post took me back to 1983 when I visited Adelaide. I took a cruise boat from the performance hall (sorry name escapes me) up to the zoo. What a nice way to arrive there.

  4. Chris says:

    When we visited them first thing in the morning they were walking around their enclosures. One came right up to the other side of the glass and where my daughter was standing which got her pretty excited. But yes, they do spend most of their time eating – IIRC its because they get so little nutrition from the bamboo.

    Agree its definitely worth going to early – there was virtually no queue when we went and 15 mins into the session once the school groups had gone we had the pandas almost to ourselves.

  5. TimT says:

    Gosh those pandas are boring. Bory bory bory bory boring. They’re so boring that I might log on to youtube later and watch more boring videos of them, for an extremely long and tedious and dull period of time. I expect I’ll be bored out of my wits then. 😉

  6. M-H says:

    Be careful, Deborah, or you might find yourself leaving Adelaide sooner than you thought! At the conference we attended in April we were considered philistines for not joined the expedition to the zoo for panda watching! Apparently Adelaideans are extremely proud of these little buggers.

  7. david winter says:

    Chris has got it,

    Unfortunately, Giant Pandas are one of evolution’s little jokes. A herbivorous Carnivoran. Completely reliant on the ever-present bamboo to keep it going, but without the usual adaptations (long guts, particular digestive enzymes…) that accumulate during a long history of herbivory. They have to eat about 10 kg of the stuff to get through day, which lets them keep eating but gives them little time for doing anything other than looking cuddly.

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