Lions and Tigers and Hippos, Oh My!

As a member, I visit the zoo frequently. Albuquerque has a surprisingly wonderful zoo. The zoo houses peacocks that roam the grounds freely. The Albuquerque zoo is, currently, one of only two zoos in the US to have Tasmanian Devils! The flamingos are bright pink (not washed out like many I’ve seen at other zoos). And, a few of my favorite activities include the polar bear feeding and the seal/sea lion feeding.

Peacock viewingTasmanian devil ABQ zooFlamingos ABQ zoo

While visiting the other day, I stumbled upon the most amazing happenings going on right in front of my eyes!  A HIPPO FEEDING!  The Albuquerque zoo has never had a public hippo feeding before, at least that I was aware of.  I was in awe. There were three hippos; the dad, the momma and the baby. Now, don’t be deceived, the baby is the same size as the mom.  They are all huge!

Hippo Feeding 3

These hippos knew their handler and his voice. They came when he called. They allowed him to place the food directly into their mouths. Not just tossing the food, but he would put his arm down their mouths and place the food directly on their back molars, which they use to chew. And they wouldn’t close their mouths until he removed his hand. These hippos loved their handler. They were also very excited about eating. Pushing each other to get to the hand containing the food, playing around while chewing, waiting as patiently as a hippo can wait for the next bite of food.

Hippo Feeding 2     Hippo Feeding 4     Hippo Feeding 1

Hippos eat about 10% of their body weight each day.  That means the male hippo eats about 35 pounds of food per day. 35 pounds of lettuce, cabbage, sweet potatoes, etc…that is a LOT of vegetables! That also means that the male hippo weighs 3500 pounds!  Big boy.

I have a new activity to add to my “must do” list while visiting the zoo. Seal/sea lion feeding, polar bear feeding and my new favorite, the hippo feeding.

Polar BearSeals ABQ zooHippo close up

 

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