Panda cub continues to grow; mom eating again

- The National Zoo says the surviving twin panda cub is doing well and his mother is growing more comfortable with leaving her cub in the den for meals.

Viewers of the zoo's panda cam have gotten great views of the cub over the past few days as Mei Xiang has finally been putting him down to eat. The panda mother ate for the first time since giving birth on Saturday.

The zoo says black markings are starting to show around the panda cub’s eyes, ear and back. He also picked up his head and grunted while his mother ate.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTO GALLERY OF THE PANDA CUB

Zookeepers believe Mei Xiang is expected to "become more comfortable leaving her cub in the den for increasingly longer periods of time to eat and drink over the next few weeks."

Last Friday, the National Zoo announced that the surviving panda cub is male and he is the son of the zoo's male panda Tian Tian. The smaller twin cub -- also a male fathered by Tian Tian -- died Wednesday.
 
The new cub is expected to make his public debut in January. He will share Mei Xiang's panda den for now but will eventually be separated to avoid fighting with mom as he grows up.
 
Information from the Associated Press used in this report.
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