#PandaStory: Cub Day 5

This update was written by Michael Brown-Palsgrove, curator of Asia Trail.

Giant panda Mei Xiang continues to exhibit excellent maternal care and is attentive to her cub. Regular, loud cub vocalizations are signs of good health and music to the panda team’s ears! Last night around 5:40 p.m., Mei Xiang placed the cub on the floor of her den for just a few seconds, giving all of those watching the Panda Cam a fantastic view of her growing cub. It let out a few hearty squeals, and Mei Xiang immediately picked the cub up, cradled it and gave a few comforting licks.

While it’s always fascinating to follow a cub’s development, I was struck by how its tail has filled out and thickened since birth. A newborn panda weighs about 3 to 5 ounces at birth and measures about 5 to 6 inches in length. As assistant curator Laurie Thompson mentioned in a previous update, we should begin to see its black markings appear in the next few days.

Don’t forget to tune in to the Panda Cam around 9:30 a.m. tomorrow to watch father Tian Tian celebrate another revolution around the sun! He turns 23 years old Aug. 27 and will receive a panda-friendly fruitsicle cake and enrichment boxes filled with his favorite treats.

This story appears in the Aug. 26 issue of the Giant Panda Bulletin. Got a question about newborn panda care? Check out our Giant Panda Cub FAQ.