News & Politics

The Baby Panda Is Now Crawling and Barking and Packing on the Pounds

It's been a month, but at least we have the baby panda.

Photo from the National Zoo

That the amount of news the universe has packed into half a month isn’t a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions seems like an oversight. Luckily, when the doomscrolling becomes too intense, there is always the National Zoo’s baby panda to pull you out of your next panic attack.

Some fun updates:

Baby boy is turning eight weeks old: Yes, this confirms that I have lost any grip on the concept of time, as the panda’s former jellybean-baby status feels like a lifetime ago. But still a cause for celebration!

He’s a “feisty” one: Lil’ fluffy donut boi has been working on his crawling in the areas of his enclosure where there isn’t bedding. Mei Xiang is exuding #MomGoals energy, letting her little one explore but making sure he doesn’t venture too far. He also apparently “barked” during an exam.

Those ears, they are open: The Zoo reported last week that the panda’s eyes had opened, but now he can hear, too! When keepers entered the den, he vocalized at the sound of the door opening, and he turned his head to follow the voices when panda curators called out his measurements during an exam.

He’s a little chonk: In the past week, our roly poly prince has gained an entire pound, weighing in at 5.4 pounds. He’s now 16.5 inches in length, but his biggest area of growth was “around his midsection,” gaining 2.2 inches in his tummy area since October 7.

He’s starting to go on field trips: Mama Mei Xiang has started carrying her baby out the door and several feet into their enclosure. As he gets older, Mei Xiang will take him on these “field trips” more often.



Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.