Let the troubles of 2020 fall away for a moment to celebrate the National Zoo's new panda cub hitting some major milestones — and flashing some majorly cute moments on the Panda Cam.
Mei Xiang's cub turned four weeks old on Friday. The little one appears to be growing well and is even spending a little more time away from mom's soft, furry embrace, the National Zoo says.
Look closely and you can even see some tiny panda claws. You can also see the cub's fur growing thicker and covering more of its pink skin.
Panda watchers will still see the pair spending lots of time snuggling up, but Mei Xiang has been leaving her cub a little more often, for as long as 18 minutes at a time, to eat and drink outside the den.
During one of those periods when Mei Xiang leaves, Zookeepers will choose the right time to conduct a second quick exam and try to get a DNA swab that would reveal whether the cub is male or female.
At this young age, cubs are all similar in appearance, so the DNA check will be the most accurate way to tell for sure, the zoo said.
Photos: Early Glimpses of National Zoo's Newborn Panda Cub
Last Sunday, the little guy got his very first check-up. The zoo said the "active and responsive" cub weighed in at 634.8 grams, or just under 1.5 pounds. The cub's black markings have appeared, and its fur is growing in, although its pink skin is still visible at its muzzle, the top of its head, its upper back and its tail.
"We are encouraged to see that our young panda appears to be healthy and vibrant," the zoo said on its website.
The panda house at the National Zoo is currently closed to provide a quiet environment for Mei Xiang and her baby. Outdoor habitats and viewing areas remain open. You can also keep up with the pandas 24/7 on the zoo's panda cams.