CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Metro Richmond Zoo has announced the birth of a baby pygmy hippo just in time for the holidays.
The zoo said the hippo is a happy and healthy baby girl and was born on Dec. 6, making her a Sagittarius. The unnamed baby is reportedly the second pygmy hippo to be born at the zoo, and in all of Virginia. The pygmy hippo is native to West Africa and listed as endangered on the IUCN Red list.
The zoo’s veterinary team examined the three-day-old newborn to find she weighed a healthy 16 pounds, but just one week later, she showed steady growth, weighing in at 24.2 pounds. But don’t let the current pint-sized stature of the baby fool you, according to the Metro Richmond Zoo, a full-grown pygmy hippo can weigh up to 600 pounds.
The baby and her mother, Iris, are currently residing in a cozy, hay-bedded exhibit that is not viewable to the public. The zoo says this will give mom and baby privacy and time to bond, but it is expected the pair will soon be moved into a public-facing indoor pool area so the baby can begin swimming.
The Metro Richmond Zoo is currently the only place in Virginia where people can see hippos, the zoo claims.
Take a look at photos of the baby below.