Watch: The Panda Cub’s Favorite Game Is Belly Flopping Out of Trees

Bei Bei, the nearly two-year-old giant panda shows off his climbing—and falling—skills

At the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, tree-dwelling animals—including lemurs, sloth, monkeys, apes and orangutans swinging from branch to branch—are a common attraction. Visitors were clearly delighted, however, to encounter a giant panda cub climbing a tree before falling to the ground in a majestic belly flop.

Bei Bei, the Zoo’s youngest panda, has captivated viewers since his birth in August 2015, and a new video from the Zoo shows that the cub has no plans of slowing down. In the clip, Bei Bei demonstrates his climbing skills with an added twist: letting go of the tree and tumbling downward with apparent glee.

In a note accompanying the video, the Zoo explains that Bei Bei is making the most of playtime, not just falling with reckless abandon: “#BeiBei has been working on his dismounts out of the trees! Giant pandas are extremely adept climbers and will often climb trees during play sessions, they also are built to withstand falls. It seems like Bei Bei has turned falling into a game.”

About Meilan Solly
Meilan Solly

Meilan Solly is a graduate of the College of William and Mary/University of St Andrews Joint Degree Programme. In summer 2017, she served as Smithsonian Magazine's American Society of Magazine Editors intern. Previously, she interned at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and served as editor-in-chief of The Saint, St Andrews’ student newspaper.

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