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

The panda cub receiving her first veterinary exam
The panda cub receiving her first veterinary exam 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.”

Mei Xiang Cradling Her Nearly Three Week-old Cub

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