Hip Hippo Hooray
Thursday 12 February 2004
A rather large present was left at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park with the birth of a common hippopotamus weighing about 50lbs
The youngster was born on December 27 to mum Nigna. Hippos are found across East, Central, West and South Africa in slow-flowing rivers, lakes and swamps and are currently under threat due to poaching, habitat destruction and human conflict.
Hippos bodies are adapted to life in the water with webbed feet to aid swimming, nostrils which close when under water and eyes and ears are located on top of the head. To protect their skin from the hot sun, hippos secrete a reddish coloured liquid from their pores which acts as a natural sun block.
The calf will suckle, even under water, for around ten months before moving onto a solid mainly hay-based diet which is supplemented with fruit and vegetables and extra vitamins.