“See the dark spots around the eyes, the shape of the ears and nose? It’s kind of panda-like.” Jenny gestured into the cage as she spoke. That’s why they’re called panda bats, or ‘xióng māo bianfu.'”

“I guess so,” Sam said, “if you’re the kind of person that sees pandas in their rice pudding.”

“They also have a ‘sixth finger’–really an elongated wrist bone–that giant pandas and red pandas have,” Jenny said.

Sam shrugged. “So that’s why it’s endangered? Because it looks like a panda?”

“No, it’s mostly habitat destruction and harvesting for traditional medicine. Bats are thought to treat epilepsy and extend life, in some circles, and the whiter the bat, the older it is and the longer it will let you live.”

“Well, people also used to think that feeding a mouse oil or salt would make it turn into a bat, and that’s where they came from. You’d think that both of them would be equally debunked.”

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