I was hoping to get a picture of one of the Smithsonian Zoo’s Red Pandas, the Giant Pandas at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park have been getting more than enough attention this winter. Unfortunately, since the Giant Pandas had also been getting a lot of visitors, the Red Pandas were temporarily relocated to Virginia.
When we visited the Zoo in March, SEEING PANDAS AT THE ZOO had very similar information as it does today:
- Please arrive early. Long lines require earlier cut-off times to ensure those waiting can enter the panda house before it closes.
- Mei Xiang and Bao Bao may not always be visible .
|Outdoor Panda Exhibit|
|Tian Tian, the father, was hard to spot at first.|
|Tian Tain pacing back and forth in front of the entrance to the internal exhibit|
|Tian Tian (t-YEN t-YEN), the male, was born on August 27, 1997.
His name means “more and more.”
He weighs about 264 pounds.
|Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), the mother, sitting mostly hidden but just on the other side of the glass barrier.
Like millions of others before us, we watched Mei Xiang eat.
Millions of Zoo visitors enjoy watching giant pandas eat. A panda usually eats while sitting upright, in a pose that resembles how humans sit on the floor.A giant panda’s digestive system is more similar to that of a carnivore than an herbivore, and so much of what is eaten is passed as waste. To make up for the inefficient digestion, a panda needs to consume a comparatively large amount of food—from 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo each day—to get all its nutrients. To obtain this much food means that a panda must spend 10 to 16 hours a day foraging and eating. The rest of its time is spent mostly sleeping and resting.
After Mei Xiang finished eating all visible bamboo shoots, stems, and leaves she got up and wandered slowly into the next room.
|Mai Xiang discovers more bamboo!|
We didn’t stick around to watch her finish this one.
|The baby panda, Bao Bao, was asleep in a ball on top of a pile of rocks the entire time we were watching his mother eat.|
For updated panda news and a link to Panda Cams, click here.
Click on the picture below to see cute pictures of animals from around the world.