Tricky Panda Fakes Pregnancy to Get More Food and Special Care

A giant panda in China named Ai Hin fooled zookeepers into thinking she was pregnant — and effectively receiving special treatment because of it.

Reports say the six-year-old panda showed signs of pregnancy, including increased hormone levels,  changes in appetite and energy levels. This led her carekeepers to believe she was expecting.

However, after spending two months receiving prenatal treatment, Ai Hin began to exhibit normal behavior again. It was then that her caretakers discovered it was merely a phantom pregnancy.

But it is possible, according to panda experts, that Ai Hin faked the phantom pregnancy in order to get more food and a more luxurious living space.

Experts with the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding said that expectant panda mothers are moved into single, air-conditioned, rooms with around-the-clock care, and are given more buns, fruits and bamboo.

Wu Kongju, who works with the Chengdu base, explains that smart pandas observe these perks and emulate behavior to receive similar treatment.

CNN reports that Ai Hin’s pregnancy and birth was meant to be broadcast worldwide online, in what would have been the first live panda birth. Guess we’ll just have to wait for a panda that is actually pregnant for that to happen.