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Plump panda cub at National Zoo has big growth spurt, eyes now fully open at 7 weeks old

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The baby boy panda at the Smithsonian National Zoo turned 7-weeks-old Friday, and zookeepers say the plump guy has had a big growth spurt in the last week. (Image: Smithsonian National Zoo){ }

WASHINGTON (WJLA) — The baby boy panda at the Smithsonian National Zoo turned 7-weeks-old Friday, and zookeepers say the plump guy had a big growth spurt in the last week.

While mama bear stepped away from the den on Thursday, handlers were able to whisk the little guy out for a quick check-up where he weighed in a 4.5 pounds (2.07 kilograms), almost a whole pound more than last week.

Zookeepers said that the cub mostly slept through the brief exam.

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The cub measured 15 inches from nose to tail tip, and he has added almost an entire inch around his midsection, which now measures in at 13.7 inches. That's up from 12.5 inches on Sept. 30. Zookeepers say his growth and development are right on track.

The cub's eyes have also fully opened, and zoo officials say to keep an eye out on the Panda Cam where you may notice the cub start reacting to noises around him as his ear canals start to open soon.

Zoo officials warn visitors that the Asia Trail, which includes the giant panda viewing, is temporarily closed to visitors for repaving of walkways.