A Hippopotamus for Christmas? It's a Reality at This Virginia Zoo
A female pygmy hippo was born at Metro Richmond Zoo in Moseley, Virginia, earlier this month.
The ultimate holiday gift? A hippopotamus, of course.
A female pygmy hippo was welcomed on December 6 at the Metro Richmond Zoo in Moseley, Virginia, providing a (very cute) embodiment of the classic Christmas tune—and the perfect amount of adorableness to help round out the year.
Born to parents Iris and Corwin, the new addition—who weighed 16 pounds at birth, a number that jumped to 24.2 just one week later—is awaiting a name, with the zoo soliciting suggestions via Instagram.
What Is a Pygmy Hippopotamus?
Hippos (common and pygmy) are native to sub-Saharan Africa, where they soak in waters during the day, emerging to snack at night. The mammals have no sweat glands and rely on water and mud to stay cool in the hot Saharan sun.
In spite of their name, which inspires miniature associations, pygmy hippos are still fairly large, weighing in at 350-600 pounds in adulthood (though, to be fair, this is small when compared to the common hippo's 1.4-5 tons). Pygmies have longer legs and less-webbed digits than common hippos and enjoy a plant-based diet.
Are Pygmy Hippos Endangered?
The IUCN red list currently lists hippos in general as vulnerable due to hunting (ivory can be found in hippo teeth) and habitat loss caused by climate change and human land use. Recently, some have called for the species' status to be escalated to endangered, the better to discourage poaching and trade.
Pygmy hippos are deemed less of a target for traditional poaching, but local bushmen are said to hunt the smaller mammal for its meat. As such, ushering a new pygmy hippo into the world is indeed a cause for celebration.
If you need us, we'll be brainstorming names for the little one.
7 of the Laziest Animals to Inspire Your Seasonal Slow Down
The winter months may be chaotic, but they also offer some time to chill out. Here are some of the world's laziest animals to help inspire you to do less.
6 Animals That Hibernate During the Winter
Winter's chill makes us all want to cozy up for a big nap. Here are six animals that survive the year's more brutal months through hibernation or similar states of dormancy.
5 Leadership Lessons We Can Learn From Our Animal Friends
Both new and experienced leaders can learn from the animals around them. Here are five important lessons from naked mole rats and beyond.