I've been reminded of a set of animal design dinner placement mats I had as a kid. One had an image of koalas, another was a giant panda, and I had the hardest time deciding between the two of them. I never used to like my sisters having either of them and would have a major tantrum if I didn't get to choose first. More often than not, the panda would win. They're a beautiful member of the bear family, and although they look cute and huggable, they are capable of being aggressive.
Key Characteristics & Facts
At the last count, there were around 1600 pandas living in the wild, and 300-400 in captivity which puts them firmly on the list of endangered species. Any significant recovery of the species is going to take some time as the giant panda isn't ready to start breeding until around five years of age, and the females will only have a cub every two to three years. The lifespan in captivity is twenty - thirty years. Both sexes have a clearly defined territory but will often overlap with other pandas, although the females will only ever share their core space with their offspring. They have twelve distinctive vocal calls that help to form a complex system of communication.
Mating & Relating
Recent research suggests that the giant panda is not as solitary as initially thought, but they are by no means classed as a social creature. The females are only fertile for three days each year which is a tiny window of opportunity for conception. Both sexes will use mating calls, and the female has a submissive posture to signal her willingness to mate with the strongest male in the area. They will often use scents and calls to avoid one another outside the breeding season, and adult pandas always sleep alone.
Human? Weird Shit for Freaks & Uniques!
If panda is your totem animal, you're going to see yourself as a solitary person, and unless you have a burning desire to breed, you're unlikely to be socialising with anyone very often. I think we can all go through short periods of isolation, but there are people who are genuinely more content to be alone than in a relationship, and you may be one of them. Here we have yet another indicator of single parenthood by choice. Men who are influenced by the giant panda may not be interested in having much (if any) contact with their offspring, whereas the women may be happier to parent alone rather than with a partner. If you're temporarily connecting with this animal it could be a sign that you need to vary your diet more or restrict it completely, or is there something in your life that you just can't stomach right now? The giant panda could also be an indication that you're wasting time and energy on something that isn't satisfying you at a deeper level. One of the most redeeming qualities of the human panda is the ability to respect the boundaries of others.
Men - Males who identify strongly with the giant panda may be reluctant to commit to one woman, and happy to hang out with the closest available female that shows him signs of being interested, although once he's set his sights on someone, he'll be prepared to fight off any male competition. When male pandas mate; the act itself is over very quickly, somewhere between thirty seconds and five minutes, and this will be repeated many times over to maximise the chances of fertilisation. I'm not sure if this particular trait is carried over to their human counterparts or not, and by itself, would not be enough to identify that you have in fact trapped yourself a giant panda. If on the other hand, he's also an anti-social vegetarian with an aversion to children - then the chances would be much higher. Please remember that the giant panda is an endangered species and as such, you're not likely to come across them very often in daily life but clusters of them will exist in specific geographical areas.
Women - Those of you who connect with the giant panda could be instinctively maternal from a young age, and may have looked after younger siblings during childhood. If you were an only child, you might have been strongly drawn towards dolls as a replacement. The desire to nurture is too powerful to ignore for the woman who identifies with the giant panda, and it suggests a love of babies and small animals that need a lot of care. For those of you who decide to become parents; you're likely to be fiercely protective whilst they're young but happy to loosen your involvement as the child's independence increases, and as they reach adulthood, you won't be afraid to cut the apron strings completely. If you're not living alone and find yourself getting aggressive, it's likely that the lack of space is at the root of the problem. Try to have a room of your own that you don't have to share at all, and if that's not possible you can hijack the cupboard under the stairs.