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AP Photos: Panda cub Bao Bao growing as expected

Tuesday - 1/7/2014, 4:07pm  ET

Bao Bao, the four and a half month old giant panda cub, has her right forefoot measured at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. Bao Bao, who now weighs 17.38 pounds (7.9 pounds), was born to the zoo's female giant panda Mei Xiang and male giant panda Tian Tian. According to zoo officials, Bao Bao is "exactly where she should be" as she grows. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The National Zoo says panda cub Bao Bao (bow bow) is growing just as she should be.

The Associated Press got an up-close look Tuesday at the nearly 5-month-old cub born in Washington. Bao Bao weighs about 17.4 pounds and measures 52 centimeters from head to tail. She is wider in the middle at 63 centimeters around her belly. All normal, according to panda statistics.

Animal keepers have been preparing Bao Bao for a crowd of fans expected for her public debut later this month. While she still sleeps about half the day, the cub has become more active. She spends time crawling, climbing rocks and following her mother, Mei Xiang (may-shong). Curators say she has an easygoing temperament.

Bao Bao will make her public debut Jan. 18.

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