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Giant Panda Cub is Packing on the Grams

  • Giant panda cub asleep

Our panda cub is growing like a weed! He's now 1.3 pounds (601.8 grams). That's a weight gain of 58 grams overnight! In addition to packing on the grams, he is also starting to look like a little panda. His black markings are coming in; his first wisps of white fur are growing in; and every day his tail gets a little shorter. (Panda cubs grow into their tails.) He is squealing much less than he was during the first week and a half of life, and now mostly makes more of a grunting vocalization-all normal for a cub his age. His eyes are not open yet, but the panda team expects that they will start to open between 6 and 8 weeks. At his last two veterinary checkups he appeared to be very healthy and had a full belly each time. Watch the exam on YouTube.

Mei Xiang is becoming more comfortable leaving the den for short periods to eat and drink. It's normal for a new panda mom to spend almost all of her time in her den with her cub. As her cub grows Mei will leave him in the den for increasingly longer periods of time so she can eat and drink. She left the den twice today. 

Obsessed with the panda cam? Put your totally healthy fascination to good use and help write the latest chapter of our #PandaStory. Thanks to the panda cams sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund, we're able to share a behind-the-scenes look at the early days of a panda cub's life in the den with his mom and all the days beyond. If you're watching the cams, you're seeing exactly what our panda experts see. Catch a good glimpse of the cub, an especially cute cuddle, or a unique giant panda behavior? Take a screen shot and upload the picture to our #PandaStory Flickr group-- be sure to include the time stamp. Once a week we'll share a favorite shot posted by a panda cam fan. Visitors can see Tian Tian and Bao Bao in the outdoor habitat.

And finally, the extended Giant Panda team is humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support we received from our stalwart supporters and new panda fans around the world. It meant a great deal to receive heartfelt messages, e-mails, social media posts and hand-written notes during the past two weeks. We just wanted to say 'thank you.'

Don't forget to follow @smithsonianzoo on Instagram for behind-the-scenes photos and videos with the hashtags #PandaStory and #InstaScience.