Bamboo eaters

The red panda in the Himalayas is one of the few animals that has beaten the defenses of the bamboo. Its leaves are not only very fibrous, but armed with tiny blades of silica which are sharp enough to cut flesh. The panda's digestion is able to cope with them and the reward is that the red panda will have all the bamboo it can eat as no one else will touch it. Bamboo also grows in Madagascar and the golden bamboo lemur scissors through the coarse outer leaves on the stem to reach the marginally softer and more succulent ones within. The lemur prefers the new shoots that come up through the ground like spears, but the plant also needs these to survive so it defends itself by loading them with cyanide. Eating one of these uncooked could kill a man. The bamboo lemur can eat them because its stomach produces juices that neutralise the poisons. However developing this ability has a price. The lemur can't eat anything else, so if the bamboo disappears, so does the lemur.

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