Our 13-month-old cub’s confidence has grown steadily, as has his independence. Xiao Qi Ji has been spending less time with Mei Xiang recently, and he does not seek out comfort from her as frequently as he once did.
Although Xiao Qi Ji is still nursing, he does so sparingly. By the time giant panda cubs are a year old, bamboo and other solid foods make up the majority of their diet. However, cubs may nurse for comfort up to 18 months of age. At most, we see him nurse once a day; sometimes, we do not see him nurse at all, though it is possible he could be nursing overnight.
Another sign our little cub is growing up: Xiao Qi Ji has been losing his deciduous (baby) teeth. Last week, keeper Mariel Lally spotted a small tooth on the ground while she was cleaning the pandas’ indoor habitat. Judging from the crumbs clinging to the tooth, it appears it wiggled free while he was eating his morning leafeater biscuits!
This story appears in the Sept. 24 issue of the Giant Panda Bulletin; read previous cub updates here. Tune in to the Giant Panda Cam. Planning a visit to the Zoo? Reserve your free entry pass or paid parking pass here.