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National Zoo says tests show that its giant panda might be pregnant

Is she or isn’t she? That’s the question being asked at the National Zoo this week.

Female giant panda Mei Xiang (pronounced may-SHONG) may be expecting a baby panda. Veterinarians at the zoo said tests indicate that in the next 40 to 50 days, the 12-year-old female could become a mother for the second time.

It’s harder to tell if a panda is pregnant than if a woman is. For one thing, even though a female panda can weigh more than 200 pounds, a panda cub when born is about the size of a stick of butter.

Mei Xiang and the zoo’s male panda, Tian Tian (t-YEN t-YEN), are the parents of one panda, Tai Shan (tie-SHON), who was born on July 9, 2005. He moved to his new home in China last year.

But just about every spring, there is hope for another adorable baby panda in the zoo’s future.

The pandas continue to be on display in the zoo’s panda yard, but that might change as the time gets closer to a possible delivery, zoo officials said.

© The Washington Post Company