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Hippo 1

Werribee Open Range Zoo in Australia welcomed a new baby Hippo on November 18, born to proud mum Brindabella. Both mom and calf are doing well, but the first few weeks are a critical time, so keepers and vets will be monitoring both closely.

New mother Hippos are very protective, so keepers have yet to weigh the calf or determine its sex. The new calf is likely to weigh between 44 to 88 pounds (20 to 40 kg) but when fully grown could weigh as much as two tons.

Hippo 2Photo credit: Werribee Open Range Zoo

In the wild, expectant Hippo mothers isolate themselves from the other hippos and seek privacy to bond with their young. This is why Brindabella was moved to a protected, off-display birthing suite prior to the birth and she will remain off display for several weeks as the calf gets bigger and stronger. 

Hippo calves can nurse underwater and are even born underwater, swimming to the surface themselves.  Calves will hitch a ride on mom's back for a while if the water is too deep or they get tired.