1 month and growing: National Zoo’s baby panda is as round as it is long

The National Zoo’s baby panda at one month is almost as round as it is long. (Courtesy National Zoo)

Around a week since its first checkup, the Smithsonian National Zoo’s baby giant panda is shooting up like a sprout.

Mei Xiang’s baby is just over a month old and zoo staff got another chance to examine the cub when its mom stepped outside to grab a bite to eat.

The cub, who weighed 952 grams last week, gained 385 grams, making it just under 3 pounds. It also grew by half an inch, from 13.4 inches last week to 13.9 inches.

The National Zoo said the cub slept for much of the exam, and they got a chance to measure its abdominal girth. The ball of cuteness is almost as round as it is long, measuring 12.5 inches around its abdomen.

A typical adult female giant panda can weigh between 155 to 220 pounds, while an adult male panda can weigh between 190 to 275 pounds.

The sex of the baby is not yet known, but veterinarians took a cheek swab and sent the sample for analysis to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at the Center for Conservation Genomics to confirm the cub’s sex. The National Zoo said the results may come in a week or two.

Outwardly, male and female cubs appear similar at birth, and a genetic test is the most accurate way to determine whether a cub is male or female.

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