Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



The Cub's 11th Week

September 23: One More Week to Vote

We just wanted to remind everyone that the vote to name the panda cub ends next Friday, September 30. One lucky person will win a trip to the Zoo, with an exclusive opportunity to meet the pandas. More than 150,000 votes have been cast so far. The cub's official name will be announced when he is 100 days old, on October 17.

September 22: That's One Small Step for Panda...

The cub took a step yesterday! He lifted himself up and was swaying on all four legs when he suddenly took a step forward and fell on his face. After all the effort, he immediately fell asleep.

Mei Xiang pulled and scratched at the door between the yards while she was being shifted around for yesterday's afternoon feeding. She was trying to open the door when Tian was on the other side. This is what she used to do whenever she wanted to go into his yard or interact with him.

September 21: Mei Enjoys Mornings Outside

Mei Xiang has been eagerly waiting at the door to go outside in the mornings. The noise from Asia Trail construction does not bother her at all. She stays out only about an hour. When the hour is up, she is ready to eat inside and rest on her favorite spots, at the top of the rock work. When she is away from the den, she frequently pauses and listens for any sound from the cub. She can actually cock one ear in his direction.

There is nothing new to report on the cub's cuteness. Just had to use the "C" word again.

September 20: Cub Continues to Be a Wonder

Dr. Carlos Sanchez, a Zoo veterinarian, checks the cub's paws, while Lisa Stevens, assistant curator, holds the cub during yesterday's exam.
There isn't much to report today. We are just in awe of our little bear. He has been vocalizing more. He barked several times during yesterday's exam. It seems like such a long time ago—not just ten weeks—that he was a tiny squealing pink newborn. He is now more than 30 times the size he was at birth. It won't be long before he is 100 days old and gets his name.

September 19: At Sixth Exam, Cub Weighs 9.6 Pounds

the cub at his September 19 examEverything went very smoothly at the cub's sixth exam this morning. During the 21-minute exam, we weighed and measured the cub, checked his lung sounds, heart rate, eyes, ears, and mouth. He now weighs 9.6 pounds, about two pounds more than he weighed at his last exam on September 8. His total length is 22.5 inches, and his abdominal girth is a little more than 18 inches, an increase of 1 1/4 inches in length and three inches in girth since his last exam. His tooth buds—where his teeth will erupt in a few weeks—are more pronounced, and his nails are very long and sharp. click toSee how he's grown.

Mei sat, eating bamboo, throughout the exam. When we opened the doors, she returned to him immediately and settled down to rest. She did not wash him as extensively as she has done after previous exams.

September 18: Cub Is One Big Boy

Mei Xiang spent 45 minutes in the grotto outdoors yesterday, beginning at 2:30 p.m. when she enjoyed a fruitsicle. Afterwards, she began to eat the ornamental grasses growing around the entrance to the grotto. At this time of year, grasses store sugars in the base of the plant in preparation for winter. Over the next few weeks, both adult pandas will break off and consume bunches of grass, leaving most of the upper parts of the plant.

The cub is bigger than he was yesterday! We all think he might weigh ten pounds now. His growth rate is much faster than that of any other cub for which weight data have been recorded. He may take after his grandfather, Pan Pan, a very large male panda living at Wolong who weighs about 300 pounds. We all think our cub is way more advanced than any other cub, even without the weigh data!

September 17: Cub Is Ten Weeks Old Today

Mei Xiang accidently hit the cub with a piece of bamboo while eating in the den. The cub let out a sharp bark, which prompted Mei to pause and then move away from him before continuing to eat. The bark is a single, high-pitched sound that gets the message across—to Mei as well as the animal care staff.

Mei continues to go outdoors every morning. She usually sniffs around and consumes some biscuits and bamboo, but returns indoors when the keepers are done cleaning and the food is in place. Once she is done eating she returns to the cub. While on the patio or outdoors, and if Tian Tian is still awake past his 8:30 a.m. nap time, they will engage in a quiet play bout. Their interactions consists mostly of pats, paw play, and ear pulling through and under the mesh barrier.

The cub is ten weeks old today! It's hard to believe that ten weeks have passed! He is still doing the counter-clockwise wheelies, with his head and front legs elevated and his hind legs pushing his rear along.

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