It’s about time for an update on our little guy! Now 10 months old and weighing in at 41 pounds (18.8 kilograms), Yun Zi is an easy-going panda youngster that sleeps during a good part of the day and is quite active at night, as many of you have observed on the San Diego Zoo’s Panda Cam.
This morning, I chatted with one of our panda narrators, Kay Ferguson. The first thing she told me was that Yun Zi is NOT a morning bear. These days he will often sleep, waaay up in the trees, until 2 p.m. or so, unless Bai Yun wakes him for a feeding. But how does she wake him when he’s up so high? Kay explained that Bai simply stands under the tree and calls to him, making a bleating sound. The panda pair has access to their bedrooms at night, but they don’t always sleep together. Sometimes Bai Yun retires to the bedroom for a nap, leaving Yun Zi to snooze in his favorite treetop perch.
The cub is still nursing, and when he gets hungry, he seeks out his mother. However, in Bai’s opinion, a fresh delivery of bamboo often trumps feeding her cub, at least for a few minutes. Yun Zi has learned to be patient—Mom will be available shortly! Fortunately for him, there are also carrots, yams, leaf eater biscuits, and apples (a favorite with both mother and son) to enjoy. Yun Zi is also practicing his bamboo-eating skills, but right now he’s still at the nibbling stage of the process.
Another new skill Yun Zi is working on is scent marking. Whenever he sees Bai make a scent, he comes dashing over to sniff it intently, rub it all over his little body, and place his own scent on top of it. This can often keep him quite busy. When he was nine months old, Kay noticed Yun Zi scent marking using the “handstand” technique, just like his father does!
And of all the new toys the pandas received, his favorite one so far is the floating platform (pictured at top). Surf’s up!
Debbie Andreen is a blog moderator for the San Diego Zoo.