Giant panda cub “strong and healthy” one month after birth at National Zoo


Zoo veterinarians measure the Zoo’s 29-day-old giant panda cub Sept. 19. Credit: The National Zoo

WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Mei Xiang, the National Zoo’s giant panda, gave birth to her cub on August 21. Since her pregnancy was announced, people have tuned into the live panda cam to watch the mother give birth and care for her cub.

The National Zoo said its veterinarians had their first opportunity to examine the cub over the weekend, when Mei Xiang placed her cub on the floor and stepped into a nearby enclosure. The Panda Team was able to safely take the cub for its first check-in with the veterinarian staff.

The zoo said the cub weighed just over two pounds on September 19. The nose to tail tip, the cub was 13.4 inches long, with its tail measuring two of those inches.

The veterinarians gave the cub a complete check-up. The National Zoo said its team listened to the cub’s heart and lungs, palpated its stomach, tested its suckle reflex and moved all four of its limbs to see how its muscles and bones were developing.

The cub’s eyes are still closed, although the left eye is not closed as tightly. The zoo said that’s very normal. Its eyes may open soon when the panda is between six and eight weeks old. The zoo said this panda cub is very strong and healthy.

The zoo doesn’t know if this panda is a male or female. The zoo said outwardly, both cubs look similar when they are born. A genetic test was done to determine its sex. Test results should arrive in a few weeks, said the zoo.

When the cub was returned to its mother, the National Zoo said Mei Xiang immediately picked it up and groomed it.


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