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People are hilariously debating how pandas survive in the wild

No longer an endangered species, pandas seem to thrive on being goofy.

Pandas aren't real. They can't be. There's no way this big, bumbly black-and-white bear that somersaults down hills and noshes on bamboo all day long actually exists.

Have you ever seen any other animal on Earth that looks remotely like a panda? No, you haven't. Why? Because they're not real. No animal could be that adorable and hilarious and stuffed-animal-like in real life.

I kid, of course. Kind of. Pandas are just the cutest goofballs in nature. They barely look real when you just see them in still shots, but when you see them in action, it's just silly shenanigan after silly shenanigan.


I mean, look at this:

And this:

And yet again:

Seriously, how do these creatures survive in the wild?

There are some hilarious theories. Twitter user "Art McFall" shares the idea that they simply aren't real. "They're actors in suits, originally created as a prank for a World's Fair in 1908," they wrote. "It's got out of hand and now the Chinese government run a school where 1,000 panda artists train and are then sent around the world as covert animal ambassadors for China."

Okay, but if you go back and watch those videos again picturing people in panda suits, it doesn't seem too far-fetched.

Some shared a theory that they're basically stoned all the time—that the bamboo they eat has some kind of effect on their energy. (Pandas are mostly vegetarian, with almost all of their diet coming from bamboo. It doesn't give them food poisoning as is posited below, and in fact digests almost like meat for them. But it does take a really long time to eat enough of it to sustain their huge bods, so they spend a lot of time sitting around looking like they've got the munchies.)

More fun panda facts:

Did you know that pandas will sometimes climb trees backwards, hind feet first, until they're in a full handstand so they can whizz higher up on the tree to mark their scent? Yup. (They also poo up to 40 times a day. So no, you really don't want a pet panda. Sorry.)

Scientists aren't totally sure why they're black-and-white. Could be camouflage, especially in the snowy areas of China where they live, but they don't really have a need for camo since they have very few natural predators.

(Take note, humans: If we could maybe stop killing each other for two seconds, we too could live a silly life full of carefree fun like pandas do.)

This description was my favorite, though:

"Dis iz a bear. She lives on da mountains, this is how they have evolved to travel. They are floooooof and they are sof and warms. They have no dangers but humans. They are peace and love and bamboo. Save da bears."

Floooooof!

"If a bear starts rolling fast enough it can orbit the earth." Sounds right to me.

But pandas will never roll that fast. Case in point:

So yeah, pandas are real. And if you want to know the answer to the original question, they survive in the wild by being not nearly as playful as they are in captivity. Thankfully, giant pandas are no longer listed as endangered thanks to conservation efforts in China and around the globe. Let's keep up that energy so we can keep these marvelous creatures thriving both in the wild and in captivity when they can't be released.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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