Giant panda cubs with quite a bit more fur than D.C. area residents spent time rolling in the snow and braving the cold in a fantastic flurry of fun!
The 17-month-old giant panda Xiao Qi Ji was caught belly sliding in the January snow, leaving beautiful pawprints in the fresh powder. But that isn’t the only playing that the nearly 100-pound cub enjoys, according to assistant curator of panda giant pandas Laurie Thompson.
“Our cub is very playful and spends a lot of time climbing trees and wrestling with his enrichment toys,” Thompson wrote for the Smithsonian. “When we let the pandas out in the morning, Xiao Qi Ji will race Mei Xiang to her puzzle feeders, which are filled with nutrient-rich biscuits.”
Mei Xiang, his mother, often spends time cuddled up with her cub — the zoo noted that he is very independent.
That independence showed last year as Xiao Qi Ji encountered the snows of 2021. However, Thompson writes, this year was very different.
“Although Xiao Qi Ji was unsure of what to think of the snow last year, there was no denying his excitement about it this time around,” she said. “He had a lot of fun rolling around, wrestling with Mei Xiang and even belly-sliding in the snow!”
The zoo added that Xiao Qi Ji’s father, Tian Tian, also enjoys winters in the District, napping outside and enjoying the zoo’s family treat: sugar cane.
Though the zoo is closed Saturday due to inclement weather, those interested can hop on the Giant Panda Cam to see what the pandas are doing.