Twin Panda Cubs at Zoo Atlanta: 7 Things to Know About Pandas

VIDEO: America can vote on a set of names for the cubs, the only twins ever to survive in the U.S.
ABCNEWS.com

For the last two-and-a-half months, the world has watched Lun Lun's twin pandas at Zoo Atlanta grow into strong and healthy toddler cubs.

Click here to see photos the cubs' development from birth to today.

The cubs, the only twins ever to survive in the U.S., are nearing their 100-day birthday, the milestone date when they will be named, in keeping with Chinese tradition.

Five sets of names were provided by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China's Sichuan province, and Zoo Atlanta is teaming up with "Good Morning America" to put it to a public vote through Oct. 21 at noon ET. Click here to see the names and vote now!.

The cubs, born July 15 to mom Lun Lun and dad Yang Yang, have been creating "panda-monium" from the moment they made their grand entrance into the world. Click through to see what Zoo Atlanta says you should know about the cubs.

PHOTO: The twin giant panda cubs at Zoo Atlanta are the only twins ever to survive in the U.S.
Courtesy Zoo Atlanta
Why Wait 100 Days to Name Them?

As was the case with the cubs' older brothers, Mei Lan, Xi Lan and Po, the new pandas will be named on their 100th day of life, according to Chinese tradition. The 100-day naming celebration is still observed in some parts of China and holds that if an infant reaches the 100th day of life, the child has survived the fragile early months of infancy.

PHOTO: The twin giant panda cubs at Zoo Atlanta are the only twins ever to survive in the U.S.
Courtesy Zoo Atlanta
Twins Run in the Family

The twins' paternal grandmother, Ya Ya, is one of a set of twins born in China in 1990. Ya Ya and her twin were the first giant panda twins to benefit from the "cub swapping" technique, which has now been used with great success with many other pairs of panda twins, including the pair in Atlanta. In the wild, a giant panda mother would typically rear only one offspring at a time, so zoo staff members swap the cubs between Lun Lun and a specially-designed Plexiglas box.

PHOTO: The twin giant panda cubs at Zoo Atlanta are the only twins ever to survive in the U.S.
Courtesy Zoo Atlanta
Newborns Are Pink!

Giant panda newborns don't look a thing like their parents. Giant pandas are born nearly hairless, pink, blind, and not much larger than a cell phone. The iconic black-and-white coloration comes in as the cubs grow older.

PHOTO: The twin giant panda cubs at Zoo Atlanta are the only twins ever to survive in the U.S.
Courtesy Zoo Atlanta
Panda Fur Isn't Cuddly

Say it ain't so! Giant panda fur isn't soft and cuddly. It's actually quite coarse and a bit oily. This is an adaptation for success in the species' native habitat in the mountainous bamboo forests of China, which can be cool and wet.

PHOTO: The twin giant panda cubs at Zoo Atlanta are the only twins ever to survive in the U.S.
Courtesy Zoo Atlanta
Pandas Are Bears

While this may sound like a no-brainer, many people don't realize that giant pandas are, in fact, bears. They're members of the animal family Ursidae, which includes all of the bears, and they sport the most powerful jaws in the family.

Pandas Are Picky Eaters

Pandas grow up to be picky eaters. The cubs are nursing now, the zoo said, but when they get older, they'll join their parents and older brothers in enjoying a diet made up primarily of bamboo. All of the bamboo offered to the giant pandas at Zoo Atlanta is locally grown in Georgia, and they prefer different species of bamboo at certain times and seasons.

They Rely on Smell

The panda cubs' sense of smell will be very important to them. Smell is an important form of communication for giant pandas, and when they find a scent they like, they'll often self-anoint by covering themselves in the scent. Their father's favorite scent is the smell of Tabasco sauce; their mom likes the smell of mint Listerine.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Share
Copy
 
You Might Also Like...