Double Prosperity

The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoluca) is a bear that is native to China. It can be recognized by its large black patches around its eyes and also across its body. They are currently classified as endangered species. The Giant Panda mainly feeds on bamboo and its natural habitat is at the mountain ranges in central China. However due to land developments, the Giant Panda has been driven out of their natural habitat and have to be placed in captivity. The primary method of breeding Giant Pandas in captivity was by artificial insemination, as pandas in captive were said to have lost their interest in mating.

In general, Pandas were only able to reproduce when they are 5 – 7 years old and they reproduce very slowly. As female giant pandas only ovulate once every year in spring for a short period of two to three days thus pandas can only mate during Spring and subsequently give birth to two cubs during Autumn. Pandas can only reproduce until the age of 20. The giant pandas’ naturally slow breeding rate prevents a population from recovering quickly from illegal hunting, habitat loss, and other human-related causes of mortality.

From the two pictures above, we can observe that there is a pair of baby twin panda. It was noted that Panda’s infant mortality rate is high as the baby giant panda is very small in size thus it is difficult for the mother to take care of it. Therefore the mother cub usually abandons one cub to let it die. Seeing two baby panda twin having a chance to live is quite a rare sight.

(If the video is unplayable, please click the link below to watch it)

Baby Panda Twins on YouTube

I’m just thankful that people around the would all loved the giant panda and are very concerned about them. In other to prevent the possible extinction of the giant panda. It is very important to educate our next generation so take good care of them.


  1. Twin pandas born in Japanese zoo – Science- Retrieved April 05, 2010, from
  2. Panda Bear. Retrieved April 05, 2010, from
  3. WWF – Giant. Retrieved April 05, 2010, from
  4. Number of pandas successfully bred in China down from last year. (n.d.) Retrieved April 05, 2010, from

Last Ant Standing

Ants are hardworking and have been found to sacrifice for their colony. For example, worker ants sacrifice their reproductive chances for the colony queen to ensure that the colony survives and gets expanded. However, such acts did not involved suicidal intentions or sacrificial acts without an immediate threat to the colony. But recently, scientists have found an ant that sacrifices its life even without an immediate threat present and suicidal intentions were discovered in such ants in attempt to protect the colony.


The Brazilian Ant

The Brazilian ant, Forelius pusillus, takes “self sacrifice to a whole new level”, by sacrificing their lives to protect the colony. Upon sunset, the Brazilian ants cover their entrance with sand and some of these Brazilian ants would stay outside to complete the job making sure their colony is safe. Due to the covered entrance after the job is completed, these ants cannot reenter the nest and dies before the next morning. It was also mentioned that the ants were on a suicidal mission and deliberately stayed outside to help hid the nest for the night. It still remains as a puzzle today what are these ants guarding against in the night, however, it was speculated that they might be protecting themselves from large roaming colonies of army ants.

Closing the door behind them

Closing the door behind them - The brazillian ants sealing off the nest entrance to protect the colony from dangers for the night.

Although altruism in ants are not new in science today, it really impresses me in how much these ants are willing to sacrifice for their colony.

1. “Last Ant Standing” by Charles Choi, September 23 2008. URL: (accessed on 6th Apr 2010)

2. “Evolving Altruism? Ants Sacrifice Selves to Protect Colony” by Austin Cline, October 9, 2008. URL: (accessed on 6th Apr 2010)

3.  Hölldobler, B., and  Wilson, E.O. (1990). the ANTS. Bel knap Press of Harvard University

The Best Way to Impress the Ladies


Remember Po, the extremely clumsy yet skillful warrior in the movie Kung Fu Panda? Well, you will be amazed to know that pandas in real life can perform martial arts too – they can do the handstand!

panda doing handstand2

Research has shown that male giant pandas (Ailuropoda Melanoleuca) often perform such acrobatic acts to “impress the ladies” and intimate their rivals (National Geographic, 2010). When a male panda scent-marks an object, the height of the mark actually lets other pandas know their size and status. Thus, the males often go upside down on their front paws with the aim of pushing their urine as high up a tree trunk as possible. This is done in the hope of attracting the females and scaring off rival competition (BBC Science/Nature, 2004).

Known to be solitary mammals that have little visual and vocal contact with one another, the endangered giant pandas thus rely heavily on chemical communication through scent. Besides using scent to coordinate mating, these remarkable creatures also utilise it to mark their territory and establish social relationships.

On top of the aforementioned handstand position, there are three other distinct gymnastic postures which the giant pandas often adopt to deposit their individual unique scent: squat, reverse on vertical surfaces and leg cock (Swaisgood, Lindburg & Zhou, 1998). They will rub an acidic-smelling substance, secreted by glands surrounding the ano-genital area, on tree trunks and stones through these various methods (Wanglang Nature Reserve, 2001). The males scent-mark frequently year-round, though increasing significantly during the mating season, whereas the females’ marking behaviour occurs predominantly during the mating season (Kleiman, 1985).

Now, looks like the battle for women is no longer just based on looks.

Reference List

Images and Video

BBC Wildlife. (2008). “Giant Panda Bear Does Handstand!”. Retrieved 4 April, 2010 from

Kjdrill. (2008). “Upside down Zhennie during the rainstorm”. Retrieved 4 April, 2010 from

Lynch, P. (2008). “Kung Fu Panda”. Retrieved 4 April, 2010 from


BBC Science/Nature. (2004). “Panda handstand makes its mark”. Retrieved 4 April, 2010 from

Kleiman, D. G. (1985). Social and reproductive behaviors of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Bongo, 10: 45–58.

National Geographic. (2010). “Giant Pandas, Giant Panda Pictures, Giant Panda Facts”. Retrieved 4 April, 2010 from

Swaisgood, R. R, Lindburg, D. G., & Zhou, X. (1998). Giant pandas discriminate individual differences in conspecific scent. Animal Behaviour, 57: 1045–1053

Wanglang Nature Reserve. (2001). Panda Facts. Retrieved 4 April, 2010 from