Lu Lu the giant panda became an Internet sensation in China on Thursday after setting a record for the longest session of coitus among pandas at China’s Sichuan Giant Panda Research Center. Lu Lu and his partner Zhen Zhen mated for 7 minutes and 45 seconds, earning Lu Lu the nickname “The Enduring Brother,” on Chinese social media, according to the Daily Mail.
With the giant panda considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (although numbers are on the rise), it’s a good thing Lu Lu has such a healthy sexual appetite. Like all female giant pandas, his mate Zhen Zhen only goes into heat for a few days every year, so getting the two to mate is critical. Breeders actually have to coax giant pandas into mating using bamboo sticks to guide them toward each other when they see that the female is in heat.
For somewhat unknown reasons, captive pandas often show little interest in mating. Breeders think that many captive pandas don’t quite know what they're doing because they’ve often been orphaned and weren't brought up in a normal wild environment. Thai panda breeders actually showed a pair of pandas a video of the animals mating in hopes it would get them to mate themselves. When all else fails, breeders artificially inseminate female pandas. But thanks to Lu Lu and Zhen Zhen’s sexual chemistry, that won’t be necessary this time around.
Pandas usually copulate for no more than five minutes, and mating can be as short as 30 seconds. Two other pandas bred at the Sichuan Giant Panda Research Center mated for 1 minute and 20 seconds. There were five other pandas (out of 27 total at the center) who actually copulated so far this year, although only time will tell if any of those sessions end up with panda cubs, according to the Shanghaiist.