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“Preparing for a Possible Panda Cub”


Photo by PoPville flickr user John Sonderman

From the National Zoo on Sunday:

“Beginning today, the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat will be closed to keep a quiet area around female giant panda Mei Xiang’s den. Although keepers are not able to confirm if she is pregnant, Mei Xiang is exhibiting expected, normal behaviors after the secondary hormone rise that are in line with both a pregnancy and pseudo, or false, pregnancy. She is building a nest in her den, has a decreased appetite, is sleeping more and is reacting to loud noises. Paws-crossed!

Pandas, like several other species, can undergo pseudopregnancies, where they do everything they would if they were pregnant. At the end of a pseudopregnancy, however, hormone levels return to baseline and females’ energy levels and behavior return to normal. Check out our FAQ on giant panda breeding and estrus here. We’ll continue to share updates via social media but also encourage you to watch the Panda Cam!

The closure will not affect the outdoor habitats and viewing areas. Please note that although Bei Bei and Tian Tian will have access to be outside until 2 p.m., due to the weather, the best time to see them will be outside from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Indoor viewing will be closed.”

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