Despite the seeming mismatch of moods, the male giant pandas are respectful of the females.
"The males are generally very good barometers of female receptivity, and will not breed with females outside of their receptive period," co-author Rebecca Spindler, a reproductive physiologist at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, told Discovery News.
Although the period of reproductive viability differs greatly between the two sexes, the researchers believe the process is quite energy efficient, ensuring that males have enough sperm when the brief and unpredictable female panda estrus occurs.
While the hormonal changes driving male panda reproductive behavior occur over several months, Aitken-Palmer said that "during the breeding season, the males are already decreasing these hormones, behaviors and sperm production, resulting in an abrupt end to their reproductive potential around June."
She added, "These changes allow for the male to successfully mate with as many females as possible, with as little energy expenditure as necessary."