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PANDA BONANZA: National Zoo's 'plump' baby panda almost as round as it is long

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The 5-week old baby panda at Smithsonian's National Zoo is almost as round now as it is long, according to zoo officials. (Photo: Smithsonian National Zoo){ }

WASHINGTON (WJLA) — The 5-week old baby panda at Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington D.C. is almost as round as it is long, according to zoo officials.

Zookeepers had another chance to conduct an exam when mama bear Mei Xiang left her den to get something to eat.

As of Friday morning, the cub weighed just under three pounds at 1,337 grams. From nose to tail tip, it measured 13.9 inches (35.5 centimeters), and it's tail accounts for two of those inches. It's back and belly measured 12.5 inches (32 centimeters) in circumference.

ALSO READ: What Mei Xiang is doing differently with her cub this time around, per the National Zoo

Zoo officials say were able to get a cheek swab earlier this week and should be able to determine the cub's gender within the next two weeks.

Currently, zoo officials say the baby cub relies on Mei Xiang's milk for all of its nutritional needs, and at one-year-old, bamboo and other solid foods make up for the majority of a panda's diet.

To watch the 24/7 Panda Cam, click here.



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