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Is the sex of Giant Panda cubs hard to tell? Identifying the gender is a real test of eyesight!

The gender characteristics of Giant Pandas are not obvious at birth. It can be determined through the distance between the genitals and the anus as well as through the external shape of the genitalia, albeit with some effort. If the distance between the genitals and the anus is used to determine the gender, the distance for male Giant Pandas is twice as far as those of the female Giant Pandas. However, this method is relative and can easily lead to confusion. The shape of the genitalia is therefore the best guide.

Although herbivorous mammals such as the African Wild Hass and Giraffe have easily distinguishable genitalia at birth, the difficulty of distinguishing gender is quite common in the Animal Kingdom. Like the Giant Panda, the gender of newborn Meerkats in the Children’s Zoo can only be determined using the distance between the genitals and anus as a guide. The gender of the Black-and-white ruffed Lemur in the Desert Animal Area is still hard to determine from their appearance even as adults because females have a “pseudo-penis” in their lower abdomen. The presence of testicles upon sexual maturity is the only way to tell.

The genitalia of female Giant Panda cubs is shaped like an inverted and recessed V (“ʌ”). In males, there is a small, protruding bump that eventually develops into a penis. Once male Giant Pandas are about 20 days old, it is possible to feel the testicles as small lumps in the pelvic region. The testicles of the male Giant Panda only descend into the scrotum at around two to three years of age. When “Tuan Tuan” first joined Taipei Zoo, the keepers observed that only one testicle had descended. The other testicle finally descended into the scrotum after careful massaging and nursing by the keepers.