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National Zoo panda cub growing bigger, spending time away from mom

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Zoo says its female giant panda cub is growing quickly and is spending more time away from her mother.

In an update Wednesday on the zoo's website, Panda Keeper Nicole MacCorkle writes that panda mother Mei Xiang is now venturing outside for breakfast and is spending up to two hours away from her cub at a time.

Animal keepers are using Mei Xiang's time outside to do more regular exams on the cub. They weighed and measured the cub Monday. She now weighs about 7.7 pounds and is 23 inches long. Her front paws are 2.4 inches long, and her hind paws are 3 inches long.

The cub's eyes have now almost fully opened.

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