A Look at Some of the National Zoo’s Cool Critters

At the Smithsonian site in D.C., these animals—from celebrity giant pandas to naked mole-rats—have amazing attributes.

New York and L.A. may boast their glamorous A-listers, but Washington’s top celebs have them beat, by far, on the cuteness scale. The giant pandas at Smithsonian’s National Zoo, regular headliners, draw legions of fans to their home in D.C., and live panda cams share their every move with an adoring public worldwide.

Papa Tian Tian, mama Mei Xiang and their two cubs—Bao Bao (nearly 3 years old) and Bei Bei (almost 1)—have given us a rare look at the lives of this entrancing and endangered species. We’ve marveled at how tiny pandas are at birth (think stick of butter), how mothers nurse their young and how adults like to munch their bamboo: sitting up, human-like, with legs akimbo and belly protruding.

Nearly 400 species reside on the verdant 163-acre site in Rock Creek Park. Here, we highlight a few more with intriguing attributes.