Panda Cub: Exam 19

Look what Santa brought me!

Xiao Liwu appeared to enjoy the attention and new toys he was given during his weekly exam today. The new play items included a doughnut-shaped plastic ring (perfect for panda sitting), a stick of bamboo, and the plastic ball from last week’s exam. Although sleepy when keeper Juli brought him in from the den, he soon perked up. The plastic ring was a big hit and made it easy for the Panda Team to get measurements, as the cub planted himself right in the middle of it!

“He is growing normally, and we are seeing a lot more interest in his surroundings,” said Meg Sutherland-Smith, associate director of veterinary services for the San Diego Zoo. “He saw that new toy and gravitated right to it.”

The almost five-month-old cub, who now weighs 15.4 pounds (7 kilograms), seemed quite content and only fussed when Dr. Meg opened his mouth to examine his teeth. The exam results indicated that he is growing normally, showing more movement and activity than in past weeks. With this new mobility, he is beginning to explore more of the panda living areas and has ventured outside a few times now. He should be ready for his public debut as he becomes more comfortable navigating the large exhibit space.

In the meantime, keep watching Panda Cam, as the Panda Team might put a toy or two in the den for Mr. Adorable to play with! More photos are posted in the Panda Photo Gallery.

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