A clever panda at the Chengdu Breeding Research Center in China went to extensive lengths recently to get a little preferential treatment from her caretakers.
The panda, Ai Hin, is believed to have faked a pregnancy in order to get the perks typically reserved for pregnant pandas.
Wu Kongju, a worker at the center, said pandas “receive more buns, fruits and bamboo [when pregnant], so some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life.”
Chinese news agency Xinhua says pandas often have phantom pregnancies. During these faux pregnancies, they show genuine physiological signs of being pregnant. But long after the phantom pregnancy has passed, the bears will continue displaying pregnant behaviors in order to keep receiving cushy treatment.
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Ai Hin experienced less appetite, reduced mobility, and hormonal changes at the onset of her phantom pregnancy. It wasn’t until months later, right around the time she was scheduled to give birth, that she started acting normally again.
Ai Hin let a few people down with her act, too. The Chengdu Center was going to stream a live camera feed of her giving birth. The live footage would have been the first of its kind.