Poo, Peas and Pandas

Question...just how big is a Giant Panda Poo?

The moment The National Poo Museum burst onto the scene back in the Spring of 2016, it instantly attracted a huge amount of interest and intrigue. Since then, this unique institution has gone on to make friends all over the globe, as well as forging links with the likes of pathologists, microbiologists, universities, charitable and environmental organisations, zoos, natural history museums, celebrities and authors to name but a few. Then there’s the media. They’ve continued to buzz around The National Poo Museum like hungry Yellow Dung Flies on a freshly lain and still steaming, cowpat!

In a TV studio, widlife celebrity Chris Packham studies a lager dried poo Chris Packham studies a mystery poo during the ‘Who’s Poo?’ round on the set of the BBC’s natural history quiz show Curious Creatures.

So it goes without saying, The National Poo Museum’s mailbox is an extremely varied and interesting one indeed. It’s true to say that Directors, Daniel Roberts and Nigel George never know from one day to the next what might plop into their inbox of delights. Consequently, the dynamic poo duo have learned to expect the unexpected. Just like in the case of some very recent and unexpected correspondence from an extremely successful author.

This particular extremely successful author, wrote to the museum requesting some detailed information concerning the poo of the Giant Panda. Said author, (who must remain secret for the time being) is busy working on a book project involving the poop of a variety of animals. However, it was the ‘number two’ of the Giant Panda that was proving difficult for him to attain any information on, particularly as it is crucial he has its precise dimensions. So, it also goes without saying, that when one needs to determine the ins and outs of any animal poo, let alone that of a panda, one would naturally start by asking The National Poo Museum for help. However…shock horror, whilst the TNPM has an extensive and impressive array of beautifully preserved and presented animal droppings in their collection, they don’t have any belonging to that of the Giant Panda.

In a zoo enclosure, by a termite mound, A TV camera records a female presenter interviewing a man There are no problems obtaining Meerkat scat for the museum’s collection. Maddie Moate from BBC’s Earth Unplugged joins Director Daniel in the Meerkat enclosure at The Isle of Wight Zoo Sandown.

It turns out there’s a good reason for this poo museum poo deficit. Giant Panda poop is almost impossible to get hold off in this country, largely due to the fact there are hardly any Giant Pandas in captivity in the UK, and there certainly isn’t any on the Isle of Wight! “One would expect a Giant Panda’s poo to be giant, given the copious amounts of bamboo they consume,” said director Daniel, meticulously measuring the length and breadth of one of the museum’s lion poo specimens, (the dimensions of which had also been requested by the author.) “But on the other hand,” he pondered, “Giraffes munch their way through swathes of foliage every day and their poos come out like peas from a pea-shooter!” And sticking with this theme of comparing poos with missiles, after scrutinising a splendid photograph of panda dung, Daniel concluded it looked a dead ringer for green artillery shells! The mind boggles! Throw in a few land mine cowpats, and you’ve got Mother Nature’s very own war zone out there!

Anyway, not to be defeated by this panda poo conundrum, Director Daniel has made contact with one or two of the zoos around the world that house Giant Pandas, to see they’re willing to do a spot of detailed poo measuring for him and to answer the now burning question of just how big is a Giant Panda poo? The moment Daniel has that information, I’m sure he’ll be shouting it from the rooftops! When he does I’ll let you know!

In the meantime if anyone reading this has access to Giant Panda Poo, and a tape measure…well, thank you very much in advance!!!

Nicola Winsland