Baby Panda Update

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

This week is all about the Pope. But let’s not forget the other being that can get D.C. residents as riled up as this historic papal visit has: a baby panda. The cub born to the National Zoo’s Mei Xiang is growing fast. Pandas are born blind, hairless, and weigh as little as a stick of butter—like this. Now four and a half weeks in, they look—and sound—like this:

The cub’s eyes remain closed, which is normal at this stage, and it has not yet begun to walk, the National Zoo explains. On Saturday, however, the cub reacted to the sound of a door moving, which means he can now hear.