The panda is perhaps one of the most complicated animals under the list of animals declared endangered. For starters, it feeds exclusively on the bamboo tree, and it is really terrible at having sex; not precisely the ideal habit of an animal looking to increase its population and be withdrawn from the list of endangered animals.
The animal, which has become the symbol for Chinese diplomacy, and the poster child of endangered animals, poses one impressive survival ability. The panda’s body can neutralize cyanide.
Panda feed almost exclusively on bamboo and these plants contain traces of cyanide. The average human would get very sick if they were to ingest raw bamboo; like the pandas. A human will have first to cook it, to get rid of the poisonous cyanide.
Pandas, having made raw bamboo their primary food, have adapted to overcoming its poisonous effect. Based on a study published in Nature, a few years back, a team of researchers investigated how the pandas can eat raw bamboo and not get affected by the poison.
The team of researchers measured the level of cyanide in the shoots of bamboo plants, which were later fed to some 20 pandas. They also measured the level of cyanide in the feces of the animals. They made a shocking discovery!
The pandas actually ingest the cyanide; with the very big ones ingesting as much as 65% of the cyanide present in the shoots. Once ingested, their bodies went ahead to turn the poisonous cyanide into the less toxic chemical known as thiocyanate, which was later removed from their bodies when they pee.
For an animal deemed to be defenseless and on the verge of extinction thus requiring human protection. Their ability to ingest and neutralize the poisonous cyanide chemical is certainly impressive.