On Monday morning when Rusty, the red panda (he looks sort of like a raccoon) was reported missing, many assumed that he was displeased with his accommodations at the National Zoo in Wash., DC.
To counteract the incorrect assumption, once Rusty was returned to the zoo later in the day, he contacted a reporter at TheSpoof.com, Gail Farrelly (she's an expert in panda parlance), to set the record straight.
According to Rusty, he's happy with his home at the zoo. He just needed a few hours off to take care of two things. Once they were taken care of, he let himself be "captured" and returned to the zoo. Rusty told Farrelly, "It gives zoo workers a thrill to think that they captured me, so what the heck, I let them do it, instead of returning on my own."
Apparently the first thing Rusty did when he left the zoo was conduct some research about a new name. "The name Rusty stinks," he said to Farrelly, adding, "it sounds like an old nail or at least someone or something that's definitely over the hill. For Pete's sake, I'm only 11 months old." After looking and listening in the outside world, he thinks he may go with one of the following names: Tonto, Snowden, Trump, or Clinton. These, he said, are modern, lively, "with it" names. But the jury's still out. No final decision yet.
The second thing Rusty did on his day out was to hunt down a barber shop that handles dye jobs. "I'm not a natural redhead," he confided to Farrelly, adding that he had been in desperate need of a touchup.
So for now, the red panda formerly known as Rusty is staying put, but probably not for long. At the end of the interview, he quoted singer Paul Anka, "I've always believed that if you don't stay moving, they will throw dirt on you."
Obviously this red panda will do it his way.