Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Food (for Thought)

I had been planning to write a substantive, thoughtful sort of post today, but what with allergies, the weather, and a bout of mild (but not mild enough) insomnia, I just don’t have the energy to be all that interesting. So instead I’ll post a few photos from the weekend, when the zoo’s pandas were eating bamboo with their typical gusto.

I do admire that about the pandas. I mean, they have to eat a lot of bamboo: unlike other herbivores, like goats and cows with their complex, multiple stomachs and suite of helpful cellulose-breaking-down bacteria, pandas have a pretty inefficient digestive system (much like ours), and so they have to eat an enormous amount of bamboo in order to absorb enough nutrients from their food of choice. Their diet isn’t composed exclusively of the stuff (according to the zoo’s website, in the wild it also includes “occasional small rodents or musk deer fawns,” which I find a little disturbing to contemplate), but the vast majority of their meals is in fact bamboo.

Now, if this were my fate, I think I might become kind of…well, tired of bamboo. I might be a little blasé about receiving the newest batch of stems; I might yawn a bit as I faced my breakfast, or lunch, or dinner. Not so the pandas.

Each time I see them eating, they look as if they’re doing what they love most in the world—their expression, each time, seems to say, “Bamboo! My favorite!” Each time, they chomp away in what appears to be absolute bliss.

You have to admire—perhaps even envy—that kind of gustatory delight.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}


Anca said...

That last photo is priceless And, yes, looking at those teeth, you can see these cuties may be very occasional carnivores. Which is what we used to be, but have forgotten.

biobabbler said...

aw, that is SO cute. LOVE your perspective. Chickens are that way about mixed salad greens. CRAZY about the stuff--every time. Instantly silent and 100% focused. So cute.

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