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Bei Bei Becomes More Independent

  • Bei Bei
This panda update was written by keeper Marty Dearie

As of December 7, Bei Bei weighed about 16 pounds (7.32 kg). Even though he's grown exponentially over the last few months, he still won't be eating bamboo for a while. However, he has started to mouth it, which is typical of a cub his age.

Bei Bei's teeth are continuing to come in, but we're not sure if he experiences teething the way human babies do. When we hand-raised our sloth bear cub Remi, we noticed that she experienced discomfort when her teeth were coming in. Since keepers do not have constant, direct contact with Bei Bei, it is hard to definitively tell if he is experiencing something similar.

During the day when keepers are present, we've noticed that Mei Xiang spends most of the day separate from Bei Bei. This is natural and a good indication of his increasing independence. Keepers will begin training Bei Bei soon with simple behaviors that will aid in basic husbandry, specifically name recognition and touching a target. 

The David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat has been closed to the public since Aug. 20 to provide quiet, and will remain closed until Bei Bei's public debut on January 16. Prior to the debut, you can see Bei Bei on the panda cam, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund.

Don't forget to follow @smithsonianzoo on Instagram for more photos and videos with the hashtag #PandaStory!