CUTE PHOTOS: Panda Cub is Thriving, More Than Doubles in Size | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian

CUTE PHOTOS: Panda Cub is Thriving, More Than Doubles in Size

Today the Zoo's veterinarians gave the giant panda cub a full exam and pronounced the cub healthy and thriving

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Panda cub at the Smithsonian National Zoo

The panda cub receiving her first veterinary exam. Photo: Courtney Janney, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The Giant Panda cub is fit as fiddle. Zoo veterinarians were delighted late yesterday afternoon when the female panda Mei Xiang momentarily set down her little cub after three and a half weeks of nearly constant cradling and nursing, and went in search of food. While the mother panda munched on bamboo and got a drink of water, Zoo keepers quickly pulled the cub from the den and immediately began checking her weight, and marking other growth milestones.

Since August 25, when Zoo keepers did an initial and quick health survey, the little cub has doubled her weight, up from 4.8 ounces to now less than two pounds. The familiar black and white markings of a giant panda are also beginning to emerge and the cub is now a roll-poly 10.6 inches long and 9.8 inches wide. Her eyes are open and she’s taking in her surroundings.

After the exam, mother and child were reunited and Mei Xiang began grooming her. In a report, panda curator Brandie Smith said: “It’s amazing to see how much she has grown in less than a month. Mei Xiang continues to be a great mom, as she was with her first cub, Tai Shan.”

Panda cub getting a check up at the Smithsonian National Zoo

Since her preliminary health check on August 25, the cub has more than doubled her weight. Photo: Courtney Janney, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Dr. Jessica Siegal-Willot examines the cub. Photo: Courtney Janney, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Panda cub close-up at the Smithsonian National Zoo

From nose to tail she is 10.6 inches long and 9.8 inches wide around her belly. Photo: Courtney Janney, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

About Beth Py-Lieberman
Beth Py-Lieberman

Beth Py-Lieberman is the museums editor, covering exhibitions, events and happenings at the Smithsonian Institution. She has been a member of the Smithsonian team for more than two decades.

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