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#PandaStory: Teething and Adventure Time

  • Giant panda cub on Nov. 9, 2020 during a keeper exam.
  • Giant panda cub at 11 weeks old on Nov. 9, 2020.
  • The Zoo's 11-week-old panda cub during his weekly keeper checkup.

Last Sunday morning, giant panda Mei Xiang rested in the doorway of the den she and her cub share. Her son crawled around the den and moved toward her. Mei Xiang stretched her forepaw in his direction and appeared to coax him toward her. After a few seconds, she picked her son up, rolled over with him and placed him on the floor of their large indoor enclosure. He rested in the spot for almost an hour while Mei Xiang ate bamboo nearby. This is a big milestone; Mei Xiang continues to prepare her cub to spend more time in their main habitat and less time in their den.

Our cub’s attempts at crawling and walking are progressing nicely. He is more deliberate in his actions. Most of the time, he seems to move in the direction in which he intended. When he attempts to stand, he can get three legs underneath him momentarily, but has not yet been successful at balancing on all four feet at once. Practice makes perfect, though, and the cub will be walking very soon!

On Monday, Nov. 9, our panda team performed a quick checkup on the cub while Mei Xiang enjoyed the gorgeous sunny weather. He weighed 9.2 pounds (4.21 kilograms). From the tip of his nose to the base of his tail, he measured 21.2 inches long (42 centimeters). His abdominal girth measured 18.8 inches. As he approaches turning three months old Nov. 21, his upper incisors are starting to erupt at the gumline. Cubs typically start nibbling on solid foods around 6 months of age, although Mei Xiang’s milk will be the staple of his diet until he is about 18 months old.

This story appears in the Nov. 12 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.