National Zoo’s Growing Panda Cub Weighs Nearly a Pound

Newborn panda cub's weight is getting close to 1 pound.

See panda grow! The National Zoo's giant panda cub has nearly tripled his weight since his birth two weeks ago.

On Saturday, vets got the chance to perform a quick checkup when the newborn's mama, Mei Xiang, left the den to eat and drink. The cub weighed in at 409.6 grams (14.4 ounces) -- 119 grams more than he'd weighed just three days earlier.

The cub had weighed just 138 grams, or less than five ounces, shortly after birth.

Vets said he appeared to be healthy, and his heart and lungs sounded normal. The cub had a full belly at the time of the exam.

His eyes are still closed, which is normal. Cubs' eyes usually open when they are six to eight weeks old, the zoo said.

The cub was born Aug. 22, along with a twin brother. Unfortunately, the other cub -- the smaller of the two -- died four days later. Zookeepers had been swapping them out to ensure that both got time and attention from Mei Xiang, as is protocol with twin panda births. Giant panda mothers are typically unable to care for twin cubs on their own.

Both cubs were fathered by the zoo's male giant panda, Tian Tian.

Panda cubs are traditionally named at 100 days of age.


Mei Xiang left her den Saturday afternoon to eat and drink. She ate more bamboo than during her previous excursions away...

Posted by Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute on Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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