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Mom and baby

A Baby Pygmy Hippo named Eve was the last birth of 2011 for Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo, with mom Ellen giving birth right on New Year’s Eve. Mom and baby seem to have a really strong bond. An excellent parent, Ellen gave birth to her first calf, another girl called Leishan, in 2009. Eve is a little shy and tends to stick close to her. Just this week something new happened -- the little one started venturing into her outdoor enclosure from the cozy pygmy hippo house, under the protective gaze of her mother.

Baby Eve grows in confidence every day, having tackled swimming lessons from mom just a few days after she was born. Surprisingly, given their love of water, pygmy hippos have to be taught how to swim.Very strong swimmers, Pygmy hippos are native to West Africa, and can often be spotted paddling around and making a splash in their enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo. Perfectly adapted to this love of the water, they have muscular valves that close their ears and nostrils when submerged.

Donald Gow, senior primate and hoofstock keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Pygmy hippos are endangered in the wild and numbers are declining, so it’s fantastic that Edinburgh Zoo has such a natural mom like Ellen. She’s got great maternal instincts."


Photo Credits: Edinburgh Zoo

Read pygmy hippo facts after the jump:

About Pygmy Hippos
The pygmy hippo, however, is only half as tall as the hippopotamus and weighs lessthan 1/4 as much as its larger cousin

Adult pygmy hippos stand about 75–83 cm (30–32 inches) high at the shoulder,are 150–177 cm (59–70 inches) in length and weigh 180–275 kilograms (400–600pounds)

At birth, pygmy hippos weigh between 4.5–6.2 kg (9.9–13.7 lb)

They can live from 30 to 55 years

Ellen, the adult female, was born at Edinburgh Zoo in January 2005. She is thefourth offspring of Leah, our first female pygmy hippo.

Otto, our adult male pygmy hippo and Eve’s dad, came to us from the Berlin Zoo in2008. Otto and Ellen get along very well.
Our pygmy hippos have access to hay and grass all the time, but enjoy feeds ofcabbage, apples, carrots, bananas, and lettuce in the evening. In the wild, theywould graze at night, and that is why we feed them in the evening.