#PandaStory: Six Weeks Old

This update was written by giant panda keeper Marty Dearie.

Yesterday morning, giant panda Mei Xiang stepped out of the den, and the panda team retrieved her 6-week-old cub for another quick checkup. During last week’s exam, the cub largely napped through the process. That was not the case with this exam—the cub was wide awake, alert and very vocal while we took its measurements! It weighed 1.66 kilograms (3.6 pounds) and measured 14 inches from nose to tail tip. Its abdominal girth remained steady at 12.5 inches.

Just like all babies, giant pandas go through spurts of steadiness and growth. All in all, we are very happy with the progress it is making—it is gaining weight and very active. One new and exciting development is that the cub’s eyes are beginning to open! They will be fully open around 8 weeks of age. Giant pandas’ ear canals typically start to open 31 to 50 days after birth. Around 2 months old, the cub’s ears should be fully open.

The Zoo's panda cub has started to crawl! 

Our colleagues in the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Conservation Genomics are analyzing the cub’s DNA to determine its sex. We will share that exciting news with you once they confirm the results!

This story appears in the Oct. 2 issue of the Giant Panda Bulletin. Read previous panda 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.