The Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C. has just released an unbearably adorable video of its newest giant panda cub. The zoo was able to capture the video, as well as some key physiological stats, while the cub’s mama was busy. And it seems the nameless cub is healthy, and, thanks to milk from its mother, quite plump as well.
🎥🐼 Last Friday, Sept. 25, our giant panda cub had a brief exam. Keepers say it is strong, healthy and growing nicely into the signature panda 'plump.' ❤️ #PandaStory #PandaCubdates pic.twitter.com/uAkUXcEA4F— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) September 28, 2020
The National Zoo recently put out a press release (which comes via The New York Post) noting their panda cub’s growth progress. The panda, birthed by Mei Xiang in August of this year, is a month old, weighs just under three pounds, and measures 14 inches from nose to tail-tip. For reference, adult giant pandas can eventually grow to weigh 330 pounds.
Smithsonian National Zoo
At its young age, the panda cub relies entirely on its mother’s milk for all of its nutritional needs. When the cub turns one year old, bamboo and other solid foods will make the majority of its diet. Although the zoo does say that the cub may want to nurse up to 18 months of age.
The zoo’s veterinarian team has also obtained a cheek swab from the cub in order to conduct a DNA test; the team needs to analyze the young cub’s genome in order for the Zoo to be certain of its sex.
At the beginning of the video above, we see Mei Xiang caring for—and snuggling!—her tiny baby cub. And if this footage bops you squarely in the “adorableness overload” part of your brain, you’re in luck: there is a panda cam. The cam is apparently on 24 hours a day, and it is legitimately worth watching. (Some of us may even have the tab bookmarked for when we need breaks from work.)
Feature image: Smithsonian National Zoo