Fiona — the world’s favorite prematurely born hippopotamus — turned three months old today.
The early days of cuddling the tiny, fragile hippo are long gone, Jenna Wingate, the Cincinnati Zoo’s Africa Keeper, told our media partner WCPO.
Here are three updates about Fiona that Wingate shared with WCPO:
1. The ‘dung shower:’ Apparently, male hippopotamuses mark territory by slinging feces around with their tails in what Wingate called a “dung shower.”
Fiona has taken an interest in the action exhibited by her father, Henry, whom zookeepers have introduced her to, along with mom Bibi.
“Fiona is now getting access to that, and she shows quite an interest in it for whatever reason,” Wingate said.
2. One sassy toddler: Fiona eats about two liters of formula five times a day. Zookeepers introduced grain to her diet this weekend and started training her to associate feeding time with a clicker that they can use when she’s 600 pounds and too dangerous to approach.
“She’s very sassy. She’s very feisty. If she doesn’t want to do something, you’re not going to make her,” Wingate said. “We kind of act like she’s a toddler, and if she doesn’t want to come, we’re like, ‘Bye, Fiona!’ We’ll pretend we’re walking away and she’ll be like, ‘Wait, I want to be with you guys!’ and then she’ll come with us. She has her very big, very own personality already.”
>>GROWING UP: Fiona goes for a swim -- and the internet goes crazy
3. Too big to snuggle: “There’s a big difference just in her energy and she’s much stronger and healthier now, so there was a lot of worry and she would kind of lie there and wouldn’t do a whole lot,” Wingate said. “She’s too big and a little bit dangerous to actually cuddle and snuggle, but she does like to lie on our feet or use our leg as a pillow now.”