Giant panda mum cuddles newborn twins

Giant panda mum cuddles newborn twins

The birth of giant panda twins has surprised Vienna zookeepers, who say they weren't sure at first whether there was one newborn or two.

Mum Yang Yang, on loan to Schoenbrunn Zoo from China, gave birth to the pair earlier this month. But because they allowed her to breed naturally, staff could only watch her using a video camera in the den.

"It sounded as if there were two pups squeaking, but we'd only seen one on camera. On Friday, the caregiver saw two on screen", zoo director Dagmar Schratter says.

The unnamed twins, currently around 15cm long, are both doing well but typically their chances of survival in the first few weeks is 50 percent.

It's not until they reach 100 days they'll be named, as per Chinese tradition.

For now, zookeeper Eveline Dungl says the twins seem to be growing quickly.

"Both pups have little fat bellies and mother panda Yang Yang is very relaxed," she says.

"Every day you get more fluff and the monochrome lines can be seen already. What you hear clearly is the drinking and comfort sounds when they are weaned or cleaned."

But while the public may want to get a glimpse of the cubs now, they'll have to make do with regular videos until they're ready for their public debut at around four months old.