Giant panda snuggles baby cub barely size of her nose after rare birth

A giant panda was caught on video cuddling her tiny "miracle" cub after she gave birth just weeks ago.

The adorable scenes are made more special by how rare it is for the endangered animals to give birth – the females are only fertile for a couple of days a year and typically can only have one cub every few years.

In the clip, caught on webcam at Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington DC, the US, new mum Mei Xiang holds the tiny cub upside down on her furry chest.

The cub was the size of a stick of butter when born and now, at just a couple of weeks old, is barely the size of its mum's nose.

Very gently, Mei Xiang holds the cub and licks it clean with her tongue all over its face and body.

Later, she holds the cub in both her front paws and nuzzles it while it sleeps.

There are roughly 1,864 giant pandas left in their native habitat and 600 living in zoos and breeding centres globally, according to Smithsonian's National Zoo.

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Baby pandas are around 1/900 of the size of their mothers when they are born and are pink and hairless, it added.

This latest cub was born on August 21 at around 6.30 pm and appears to be thriving.

The footage of Mei Xiang has been watched more than 12,000 times since it was shared by the zoo on Saturday, delighting animal lovers around the world.

A fan wrote: "I am so grateful to the amazing panda team for their devotion to Mama Mei Xiang and her miracle cub."

Someone else tweeted: "At this tense time from Covid and politics, it is WONDERFUL to see the beautiful updates on momma and baby."

A third viewer said: "Her little one is so cute! She is such a great mom!

"Love seeing the first few weeks of Mei Xiang caring for her cub. Precious moments caught on the cam."

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