The Smithsonian’s National Zoo announced that its nearly three-month-old giant panda cub has started teething and is likely to take his first steps in the near future.
The cub is now making attempts to stand, managing to get three legs underneath him momentarily. He has not been able to balance on all four feet at once yet. But zookeepers believe that he will probably start walking very soon, following more practicing.
He has also started teething as his upper incisors are starting to erupt at the gumline. “Cubs typically start nibbling on solid foods around 6 months of age, although Mei Xiang’s milk will be the staple of his diet until he is about 18 months old,” according to the zoo.
His mother Mei Xiang has been encouraging the cub to spend more time out of their large den, as well as picking him up, rolling over with him, and putting him on the floor of the enclosure.
🐼❤️ Adventure time for our giant panda cub! Over the weekend, Mei Xiang brought him into their indoor habitat to practice his crawling skills while she ate bamboo. Get the update from keeper Nicole MacCorkle: ✏️STORY: https://t.co/Gl5m71O8FG.
. . . #PandaStory #PandaCubdates
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) November 12, 2020
Last Sunday, the cub rested in that spot for around an hour while his mother ate bamboo nearby. “This is a big milestone; Mei Xiang continues to prepare her cub to spend more time in their main habitat and less time in their den,” said the National Zoo in a statement on Thursday.
He also has become “more deliberate in his actions,” often moving in the direction in which he intended to.
The zoo’s panda team performed a checkup on the baby panda on November 9, while his mom enjoyed the sunshine. They found out that he weighed 9.2 pounds (4.21 kilograms) and measured 21.2 inches long (42 centimeters) from the tip of his nose to the base of his tail. His abdominal girth measured 18.8 inches.
The zoo says the cub will be turning three months old on November 21.
A video showing the cub’s checkup when he turned 11 weeks old was shared by the National Zoo last week.
Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated in March 2020 by a team of reproductive scientists at the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, after she entered her breeding season.
Mei Xiang gave birth to her baby at the National Zoo on August 21, 2020.