Newborn pandas are very small, similar in size to a little panda’s cub, weighing only 90-131 grams (the heaviest weighs only 170 grams), averaging about 100 grams, making only 1/900 of the mother’s body weight. A black bear’s newborn is 1/200-1/300 the size of its mother, which is more than 3 times larger than a panda. Therefore, newborn pandas are actually premature babies.
When a baby panda is born, its eyes are closed, its body is in light red, like flesh-colored, and it has only sparse white hair. The newborn’s body hair is slightly longer, about 0.5 cm, and the hair on its head, limbs and tail is shorter, about 0.2 cm. Its tail is longer, about 1/3 of the body length. Its head shape is flatter and blunter than its parents.
Although newborn pandas are small, they have a loud voice, which does not match with their size. Sometimes, a newborn panda’s crying is like a human baby, at times like a puppy. As they grow up, their voices become softer. Two months after they’re born, their way of crying sounds no longer like a human baby or a puppy, but more like a way of calling.
For about a week, the newborn panda’s ears, eyes, and shoulders begin to grow sparse black hair. Ten days later, black hair also grows in the hind limbs, and it’s more obvious on the ears. The black hair around the eyes make it a circle, and the diameter is about 1 cm long.
When the baby is around half a month old, black hair begins to appear around the nostrils and the corners of the mouth.
When it’s nearly 20 days old, its black hair becomes thicker, starts to appear on the chest, and continues to extend around the eyes, changing its shape from a circle to a diagonal rectangle (similar to an adult beast). At this time, black hair also appears on their necks, and on their front and back feet.
After the 25th day, black hair spreads throughout the neck and chest, extending much largely around the eyes. New white hair grows out, making the black and white hair distinctively different.
By the 50th day, their midline of the chest and the lower part of the abdomen become reddish brown, while the rest remains black, with a hint of dark brown. Moreover, there is also a chunk of black hair on the tip of the tail.
The limbs of a newborn panda are very weak, and it can’t stand at all. Within two months after birth, it is basically inactive. All it does is to feed on milk and sleep.
When a newborn panda is hungry and wants to look for milk, it can at most crawl forward a little with all its strength, and most of the time it rolls from both sides.
After two months, it can start moving and climbing a little, but its limbs are still not well coordinated.
After two and a half months, its hind limbs can start supporting the body, and it can make a few steps forward.
At 3 months, its hind limbs begin to have more strength, and it can walk more than 1 meter, yet still not stable enough, and would sometimes fall over.
After 4 months, the panda becomes much more active. It can run a few steps and starts to roll a lot. It often climbs to its mother’s back, rolls down and climbs back up.
After 4 and a half months, it becomes even more active and likes to move around all the time. When seeing its mother eating bamboo, it starts to imitate though it’s still not able to do the same.
When it’s 6 months old, it starts learning to eat some bamboo leaves. Its increase in weight is initially slower, then it grows more rapidly after 6 months, when it’s Spring. Generally, a male panda cub gains more weight than a female panda cub of the same age.