Pandas are notoriously picky when it comes to choosing a mate.
That’s why when giant panda Ai Hin started showing signs of pregnancy, staff at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre in China were thrilled. So thrilled, in fact, that they planned to make her the star of the world’s first live panda birth broadcast.
But after two months of observing the endangered animal, experts say her behaviour and physiological tests returned to normal.
In other words, she was never pregnant. So was it all just a bad case of stage fright?
Not exactly. When pandas get pregnant at the research centre, they’re moved into first-class single rooms with air conditioning and around the clock care. Inside, pandas also receive more buns, fruits and bamboo.
Now here’s where the craziness kicks in. Some pandas actually start to notice the swanky treatment they receive in these rooms, and figure out what they need to do to be put in them: fake a pregnancy (they do this by eating and moving around less). The fancy term the experts use for this phenomenon is a “phantom pregnancy.”
So basically, Ai Hin went from being reliant on the facility…
…to calling the shots.
It looks like the pandas run the show now.