First Birthday for Hippo

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Adhama watches Mom enjoy a watermelon.

There’s big reason to celebrate at the San Diego Zoo, as our young river hippo has just had his first birthday. It’s hard to believe, but little Adhama is a year old and now weighs a whopping 860 pounds (390 kilograms). To celebrate the occasion, Adhama and his mother, Funani, got to enjoy their favorite treat: watermelon! Of course, when you’re dealing with hippos, a couple of melons don’t last very long. Watch the fun below!

It’s been quite an exciting time. Adhama has enjoyed a lot of attention from his mother, his keepers, and even the media. After a video of the boisterous calf, titled “Baby Hippo Ballet” went viral, Adhama was seen on local and national television, in an article in our member magazine, ZOONOOZ, and in People magazine, where he was given a one-page spread.

It will still be several more years before Adhama is considered fully mature. In the meantime, Funani is more than happy to spend time with him and seems reluctant to cut the apron strings. As Adhama starts to show more independence, it is Funani who tends to rein him in. And whereas most hippo calves are fully weaned by six to eight months of age, Adhama can still be seen nursing occasionally.

He has met his father, Otis, through the safety of a closed gate with visual access to one another. Adult male hippos sometimes kill youngsters, and while Otis has not shown any signs of aggression toward his son, there are still no plans to put him with Funani and Adhama. Therefore, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Otis has his turn on exhibit.

Nate Schierman is a keeper at the San Diego Zoo. Read his previous post, Baby Hippo! Here’s another video of the birthday boy’s big day.