As the tradition dictates, every year on this day we like to scare the living crap out of each other. One common way of doing it is to pick a random, small animal, and pretend that it is somehow dangerous or deadly. The top of this list of innocent victims is usually occupied by bats, spiders, cockroaches, or pretty much anything that is way too small to do us any harm. Unfortunately, the stereotypes hammered into everybody’s head on Halloween stay with us much longer than just one day, and the poor creatures suffer the undeserved bad reputation for the entire year.
But the really scary, dangerous animals are those that nobody suspects of being evil, and none more so than the creepy Giant panda. Sure, they look cute. But under the cuddly exterior hides a vicious, mean monster. My friend Corey, who used to work in the Panda Base in Chengdu, China, told me about about one particularly nasty, psychotic individual who used to attack people all the time, completely unprovoked. In fact, panda attacks are quite common, and there is even a blog devoted to this topic (“When Pandas Attack”). While in China I heard stories of people being killed by these vicious animals. In any case, I would rather be assaulted by a cockroach or run across a bat or a spider while walking alone in the forest, then meet one of these giant, black and white monsters. I know that they try to appear sweet by hiding their beady eyes in black patches of fur, but they are not fooling me!
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And serial killers are frequently attractive, seemingly polite people. All the better to lure you with, my dear.
A friend worked at Seaworld with penguins and she said they’re assholes. ALWAYS try to bite you, when frequently all she was guilty of was fetching food for them or cleaning. =)
In terms of dastardly effect, globally, I nominate Homo sapiens as the scariest of all.
(why, yes, I AM a conservation biologist, why do you ask?)
There is nothing wrong with liking pandas as long as you recognized the potential danger, which, unfortunately most people do not. What is really sad is how many people firmly believe that all spiders, cockroaches and bats, etc. really are dangerous. I firmly believe that this is because, for the most part, we pass our fears on to our children, and I also believe that the media and our education system must take a good portion of the blame. That may just be another blog.
Don’t worry, I agree. Husband and I recently became very attached to a praying mantis (this is why we are friends with Piotr now).
We still want to save the pandas! I was lucky to visit the center in Chengdu. Clearly the giant panda isn’t super-intelligent. Their cries were eerie and the breeding program involved some violent coercion. I am sorry generally about habitat loss for all of us in the ecosphere. Cockroaches will probably outlive the human species, as well as the pandas (although, come to think of it, my stepmother, a Florida native, avows that roaches are less common there after decades of soaking every house in pesticide).
Let’s not take anything for granted…
I concur! Large mammals can be scary. I’ve never liked pandas. As a kid I had so many friends who loved horses, but I didn’t want to be around animals that could kill me with one swift kick. I preferred garter snakes and wolf spiders (still do).
and no spider or roach has the power to rip your face off either
very true and they are a bit unnerving, give me an arachnid any day.they are predictable.