It’s hard to believe our giant panda cub will be 11 weeks old tomorrow! As I mentioned in my last update, his mother Mei Xiang has been choosing to spend more time outside eating in the morning and early afternoon while her cub rests in their den. Yesterday, she stepped outside to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather and soak up some sun. The panda team took that opportunity to quickly check her growing cub’s weight and measurements.
Throughout the exam, our cub was mostly quiet and sleepy. As keeper Marty Dearie measured the cub, he lifted up his head. He barked at the sound of our laughter, then promptly fell asleep. He weighed 8.4 pounds (3.84 kilograms)—nearly a pound more than last week. From the tip of his nose to the base of his tail, he measured 20.4 inches long (52 centimeters). His abdominal girth measured 18.5 inches, up from 17 inches last week. His tail, which was a quarter of his body length at birth, is 2.3 inches long (6 centimeters), or one-eighth his body length.
When we completed his exam, we placed him in the enclosure rather then the den, then opened the door for Mei Xiang to enter. When she did, she chose to eat some bamboo before tending to her cub. Once he started fussing, though, she paused eating to comfort him. He soon settled down, and she moved him back to their den.
This story appears in the Nov. 5 issue of the Giant Panda Bulletin. Watch Mei Xiang and her cub on the Giant Panda Cam, and read previous cub updates here. Planning a visit to the Zoo? Please note that Asia Trail—including giant panda viewing—is temporarily closed to visitors for the scheduled repaving of walkways.