A giant panda at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo may be pregnant, according to zoo officials.
The panda, named Mei Xiang, is exhibiting signs of pregnancy, such as increased hormones, nest building and sleeping more. Those indicators are what zookeepers would expect to see during a panda pregnancy.
Officials warned the signs also are in line with a pseudopregnancy.
“Pandas, like several other species, can undergo pseudopregnancies, where they do everything they would if they were pregnant,” zoo officials said. “It’s still too early to tell if Mei Xiang is pregnant or experiencing a pseudopregnancy, but the panda team will continue to monitor her behavior, hormones and changes in her uterus.”
While the zoo continues to look for more indicators, they have closed the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat in order to keep a quiet area around the panda’s den.