Wow, wow, wow, how did this panda hear about my scam all the way in China?

Yuan Yuan, one of a pair of pandas given to the Taipei Zoo in December 2008, was displaying all the signs of being pregnant—her uterus was thickening, she wasn’t eating as much, and her fecal progesterone concentration was elevated. Since she had been artificially inseminated in March, her caretakers assumed she was with future baby panda.

It turns out she was perpetrating a super sophisticated scam to get better stuff.

Being a pregnant panda is legit as hell—you get to move into a single room, get constant attention and get fed extra-large portions of bamboo and fruit. In other words, it is the exact same as being a pregnant woman. No difference at all.

China Daily reports:

Experts believe clever pandas display behavior similar to pregnancy to improve their quality of life after noticing the difference in treatment they receive.

Yuan Yuan, which went to Taiwan with Tuan Tuan, gave birth to her first and only cub, Yuan Zai, in July 2013. The names of the pair produce the Chinese phrase tuan yuan, which means reunion. They are among the most popular attractions at the zoo.

In 2014, Ai Hin, a giant panda who lives at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Center, did the same thing.

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Honestly—and I hate to say this—if you’re dating a panda who says she’s pregnant, you really need to witness a sonogram before you start readying the child support checks.


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

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