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#PandaStory: Nine Weeks Old

If you’ve caught a glimpse of our cub on the Giant Panda Cam lately, you may have noticed that he likes to sleep on his back. It’s very cute to watch! When he is awake, he continues to practice crawling around the den. Over the weekend, Mei Xiang took him on several “field trips” into their larger enclosure, mostly at night.

Mei Xiang continues to be a devoted mother to her cub. Now that he is larger and can regulate his own body temperature, she feels comfortable leaving the den for longer periods to eat. Mei Xiang’s appetite has returned to normal; these days, she eats approximately 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of bamboo every day.

Mei Xiang has developed a schedule of sorts and leaves the den routinely once in the morning, once in the afternoon and several times overnight. Sometimes, she chooses to bring a few stalks of bamboo back to the den as a convenient snack for later.

Now that it is finally starting to feel like Autumn in the Washington, D.C. area, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian will soon transition from eating only the tender leaves of the bamboo to also consuming the dense, hearty culm (the stalk). During winter and spring, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are partial to a species called yellow groove bamboo, which gets its name from the yellow indentation that runs down the culm.

This story appears in the Oct. 26 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.