Meet Fiona. She's a star in Cincinnati. She lives at the Cincinnati Zoo with her mom, Bibi. When Fiona was born, she was the smallest hippo anyone at the zoo had ever seen. She was six weeks premature -- that means she was born early. She weighed 29 pounds. The average newborn hippo weighs 100 pounds.
People at the zoo were worried that she wouldn't survive. She couldn't drink milk, her lungs didn't work efficiently, and she couldn't stand up like normal hippo babies do. She wasn't strong enough.
She couldn't even suck milk from a bottle. Her keepers at the zoo ran a tube through her mouth to her stomach and squirted milk through a large syringe -- a syringe is the plastic part of a shot needle -- sort of a bigger tube with a pusher.
Nurses from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital came to the zoo to help. Fiona had to have someone with her day and night. They had to rub her skin with lotion so it wouldn't dry out. Normal hippos spend a lot of time in the water, but Fiona was too little. They took very good care of Fiona.
When she got bigger, they had to introduce her to water. They put swimming noodles under her tummy to help her float.
Look at her ears. They're round and cute. The keepers thought they looked like ogre ears in Shrek -- so they named her after Princess Fiona.
Fiona was a determined little hippo. When she got too big for her keepers to lift her into her tiny pool, she learned to walk up a ramp. She loved the water. She could close her nostrils (nose holes) and stay under water for several minutes.
Today she is two years old and weighs 1000 pounds -- exactly what a two-year-old hippo should weigh. She lives with her mother and together they enjoy a huge pool. Everyone in Cincinnati loves Fiona. A children's book has been written about her -- she even starred in a television commercial.
Fiona and Bibi like to eat lettuce and other vegetables. Miss Elaine and I got to get close and watch them be fed. Here is a picture of Fiona and Bibi waiting for food.
I hope you liked learning about Fiona. I saw lots of animals on my trip to Cincinnati. I'll be telling you about more of them soon.
Monday, April 8, 2019
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