Last Sunday morning, the giant panda Mei Xiang rested on the threshold of the den she and her cub share. Her son crawled around the den and walked up to her. Mei Xiang stretched her front paw in her direction and seemed to coax her towards her. After a few seconds, she picked up her son, turned with him and placed him on the floor of their large indoor enclosure. He rested in place for nearly an hour while Mei Xiang ate bamboo nearby. This is an important step; Mei Xiang continues to prepare her little one to spend more time in his primary habitat and less time in his den.
Our little one’s attempts to crawl and walk are progressing well. He is more deliberate in his actions. Most of the time, he seems to be going in the direction he intended to go. When he tries to stand, he may momentarily have three legs under him, but has yet to manage to balance on his four feet at once. Practice makes perfect, however, and the little one will be walking very soon!
On Monday, November 9, our panda team did a quick checkup of the cub while Mei Xiang was enjoying the beautiful sunny weather. He weighed 9.2 pounds (4.21 kilograms). From the tip of its nose to the base of its tail, it measured 21.2 inches long (42 centimeters). His abdominal circumference measured 18.8 inches. As he nears three months of age on November 21, his upper incisors begin to erupt in the gum area. Cubs usually start snacking on solid foods around 6 months of age, although Mei Xiang’s milk is the staple of her diet until around 18 months of age.
This story appears in the November 12 issue of Giant Panda Newsletter. Watch Mei Xiang and her cub on the Giant Panda Camera, and read previous cub updates here. Planning a visit to the zoo? Please note that Asia Trail including Giant Panda Watching is temporarily closed visitors for the scheduled repaving of the aisles.