New Vienna attraction: Tiny twin pandas


Look forward to crowds at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo. The zoo's female panda Yang Yang gave birth about a week ago, but until Tuesday they thought there was only one baby. But sound monitors and cameras have now revealed a second.

This is a combination of unusual events; the panda became pregnant after several 'in the wild' matings with Long Hui, the zoo's other adult panda; most pandas in zoos breed only through artificial insemination. The Vienna Zoo practices a mostly hands-off approach, and has not yet handled or examined the babies.

Survival rate for newborns even in their natural habitat is fairly low, and twins are not uncommon. However, the mother usually nurtures only the stronger. But in this case, video observation shows that both are growing and feeding, and that Yang Yang is sheltering both with her paws. They are born pink and hairless, but signs of the typical black and white pattern are appearing.

For those perhaps too curious to know how pandas mate, the zoo has posted this video... 

Photos and video from Tiergarten Schoenbrunn, Vienna.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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