PANDA WATCH: Xiao Qi Ji not impressed with banana

When we last checked in on Xiao Qi Ji, the National Zoo’s newest panda cub was celebrating his half-birthday by tasting applesauce for the first time.

He was “meh” about it, reportedly.

And on Tuesday, the zoo had similar panda watch news: He tried a banana for the first time … and was, again, kind of underwhelmed.

“It was apparent from his reaction that sweet potato is still his favorite food,” wrote Laurie Thompson, assistant curator of giant pandas, in the latest edition of its Giant Panda Bulletin.

Let’s get you caught up now on some of the other big developments involving Woodley Park’s hottest new celebrity.

Xiao Qi Ji is an exercise nut. The cub heads outside to climb around on a wooden structure, Thompson wrote, when many of us are still working on that second cup of coffee. This love of climbing points to a potential interest in parkour, CrossFit or both — but this is pure speculation on our part. Draw your own conclusions.

Wait. Scratch that. The little guy then “tuckers out and takes a nap on the hammock at the front of the yard,” she wrote. “We’ve had to retrieve our sleepy cub from his favorite perch twice when it was time to come inside.” (Totally unrelated note: He’s gained a pound and a half in the last week.)

He’s a good listener. On Monday, Thompson wrote, he was far away from his mama, Mei Xiang, when she was ready to go inside. “I called his name, and a few moments later he trotted up to the keeper area and followed her inside,” Thompson said.

He’s resourceful. The little guy is all about his new toy: a log. He dragged it into a den after finding it in the enclosure this week. “Xiao Qi Ji held it close as he rolled around with it in his arms,” Thompson wrote. “He had a great time playing!”

And yes, there is video.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer. In a previous life, he helped edit The Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune.

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