In early 2014, Redditor CarlPeligro made a brief comment on a photo of a raccoon: “Raccoons = trash pandas.”
The description stuck and the term “trash panda” has permeated across Reddit, Imgur, and Instagram alike, resulting in the creation of a subreddit devoted entirely to “trash pandas.” But now the meme has really hit the mainstream.
In “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Chris Pratt’s character Peter Quill calls Rocket a “trash panda” after he protests being called a raccoon. When asked if “trash panda” is better or worse, Quill laughs and says, “it’s so much worse.”
For those unaware of this loveable raccoon nickname, you’re in for a real treat. Let’s dive into the weird world of “trash pandas.”
A lot of submitted posts on /r/trashpandas are original photos.
This one was captioned: “Trash panda I found in the garbage bin at work…I let him out.”
The term “trash panda” was likely derived from the name Red Panda.
Despite their name, Red Pandas are not related to panda bears. They actually belong to their own taxonomic category called Ailuridae.
“Trash Pandas” makes sense because raccoons share the black and white coloring of panda bears, but are similar in size and shape to a red panda. They also love trash.