Faking a pregnancy is the oldest trick in the book. Women have been playing the old "I'm knocked up" card since the dawn of time "” and with good reason. It's effective in all kinds of situations from locking down a noncommittal boyfriend to accessing any bathroom on the planet no matter how big the "No Public Restrooms" sign out front may be. No one ever says "no" to a pregnant chick.
Yes, pretending to be with child for personal gain is a shady, manipulative thing to do. As it turns out, it's actually a natural instinct. Proof? Animals do it too. Even the really stupid ones, like panda bears.
Just this week, citizens of China were sorely disappointed to learn that the live broadcast of a panda birth they'd been eagerly awaiting wasn't going to happen. The female panda who'd been scheduled to deliver a cub was never even pregnant!
The trifling panda named Ai Hin, residing in the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre, managed to convince an entire team of zoologists that she had a baby inside her just for the pregnancy perks. Her con worked, because for months Ai Hin enjoyed extra helpings of buns, fruits, and bamboo. The presumed mother-to-be was even upgraded to an air-conditioned private room where she was basically waited on hand and foot by the staff.
The charade came to an end when Ai Hin failed to deliver a cub, as presumably did her luxurious lifestyle "” at least until she gets knocked up for real. But I have a feeling they're going to be keeping an eye on that shiesty panda from here on out. Fool me into thinking you're pregnant once, shame on you. Fool me into thinking you're pregnant twice, shame on me!
What's kind of amazing about Ai Hin's ability to pull off such an elaborate scheme is that pandas really are notoriously stupid. They consciously choose to eat almost nothing but bamboo even though it's very difficult for them to digest. Literally every time pandas eat, they get sick,. Afterwards they just lie around until their tummies stop hurting "” at which point they just go and eat some more bamboo because they're too dense to realize the connection. It's probably why their population is dwindling as badly as it is. When all they do is alternate between pigging out and feeling like crap, it's not surprising that pandas don't have any energy for lovemaking.
So, despite being inherently dumb and lazy, pandas seem to be pretty darn motivated and astute when it comes to scamming the system for handouts!
But before you write pandas off as the welfare queens of the animal kingdom, keep in mind that they're actually not the only species to fake gestation.
Phantom pregnancies, as they are known, are somewhat common among endangered species held in captivity. Apparently they've caught on to the fact that, because they're so few and special, the promise of reproduction makes the human folk dote on them even more.