How Do I Measure Up?

Oct. 9, 2012: To make sure the giant panda cub is growing on track, veterinarians measure him each week. On his eighth exam, he is 11 inches from the base of his head to the tip of his tail. His overall length, from the tip of his pink nose to the tip of his puff tail, is about 20 inches. Weight: 7.3 pounds.

The best time to examine the cub is when he has a full stomach, just after nursing. A full belly keeps him calm and collected -- OK, nearly falling asleep, according to zoo staff. During this exam the vets also feel teeth just below the gums. Panda molars are larger and flatter than other bear species -- an evolutionary feat believed to be due to grinding up all that hard bamboo. Panda cubs nurse from their mothers until about a year old, at which point they will start experimenting with bamboo.