A baby hippo, born at the Berlin Zoo on October 23, has been delighting keepers and guest alike. The as yet unnamed calf remained behind the scenes in the pools for several days to bond with it's mother Nicloe. Then she confidently led the baby to the water in the exhibit, and introduced the little one to the other members of the herd.
This is the third baby for this experienced mom, and the baby's interactions with her siblings and the other adults is wonderful to watch. The wee one made this public debut on Nov. 1. Underwater, they run or walk along the bottom with their ears and nostrils clamped shut by special small muscles. Their heart rate slows, allowing them to stay under for up to 30 minutes, though they commonly come up for air every 6-7 minutes.
Hippopotamus live on both land and water. Their natural habitat is grassland where there is permanent still water that is not too deep. Sadly, this species has been declared endangered because of habitat loss due to man's encroachment, and because they are hunted for meat.
More pics beneath the fold...