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Catching Up With the Pandas

  • Giant panda sitting in the snow
    Mei Xiang playing in the snow Jan. 13, 2019.

The shutdown didn’t shutdown giant panda playtime! During the past three-and-a-half weeks Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and Bei Bei have carried on with their daily routines, but without their usual human visitors during the day. Their keepers were here every day during the shutdown making sure that they still had their bamboo, treats and playtime. The pandas did not show any major behavioral changes during the shutdown. However, Bei Bei and Tian Tian did discover new favorite napping spots. Bei Bei now naps on the large log in the back of his yard. He drapes himself over it and naps, much like Bao Bao did while she was living here. Tian Tian has also started napping in his hammock in his indoor enclosure every day, much to the keepers’ pleasure! When it was first installed he did not seem as enthusiastic about it as Bei Bei had been about his indoor hammock, but that seems to have changed. Keepers are not sure what made these two new napping spots so enticing, but the pandas seem to really enjoy them.

Earlier this month, all three pandas had some fun playing in the snow! A snowstorm covered the Zoo in a few inches of snow Jan. 12 and 13. Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and Bei Bei wasted no time rolling, sliding and tumbling in it. Giant pandas are well-adapted for cold weather and playing in the snow. Their thick wooly fur keeps them warm and repels water.

A new year has brought in a new record for Bei Bei! He now weighs 234 pounds—that is as much as an adult panda. Although he is now taller and longer than his mother, Bei Bei will continue to grow until he is approximately four years old.