Giant Panda Update Sep 20, 2013

Our panda cub is 4 weeks old today — and what a difference a few weeks makes! Keepers say that it looks like she has eye markings shaped like Mei Xiang's and her back saddle is shaped like Tian Tian's. And she is growing exponentially. One of the keepers at her veterinary exam on Monday exclaimed that she is nearly as round as she is long!

Mei's appetite has come roaring back this week as well. Keeper, Nicole, said this morning "there are no bamboo leaves that are safe" in Mei's enclosure. Mei left the cub for about 20 minutes this morning to eat. Since Monday she has started leaving the cub more frequently and for longer periods of time. The panda team plans to perform another veterinary exam on the cub next week, if they get the opportunity.

The cub's eyes will probably not open for a few more weeks. Panda cubs' eyes usually start to open when they are between 40 and 60 days old. She'll also become more mobile soon. She can only partially roll over right now, meaning that if she turns herself on her back she needs Mei's help to get back on her belly. But, keepers expect that to change soon enough, and when it does she'll be able to turn herself over completely without any help.

Tian Tian is also doing well. Since the summer temperatures have faded he has been staying outside at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat until 2 p.m. most afternoons.