Hi there. My name is Omo. You have met me before, but in case you don’t remember, please look here for a reminder. I’m a Nile Hippopotamus, am named for an African river (like my mother), and live at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. When I opened my eyes for the very first time on July 20, 2021, no representative of my kind had been born at this zoo for 32 years. And
As you might imagine, there was much rejoicing, especially since nobody knew exactly that I was on my way. My mother, Zambesi, and father, Biko, had had several dates in November of 2020, so the caretakers were keeping a hopeful eye on my Mom. The problem is that hippos don’t really “show” during their eight-month pregnancy, and my weight at the time of my birth, an estimated measly 40-80 lbs. (18-36 kg), was only a tiny fraction of my mother’s. She tips the scales at 3,200 lbs. (1450kg)!
Ever since my BIG first birthday celebration in July of this year, I have been meaning to drop you a line, but I’m still trying to catch up with all the fun greeting cards and touching wishes I received on the occasion, on top of which I have to do my best to entertain the guests frequenting our zoo daily. It’s not easy being a celebrity.
My keepers think I’m getting increasingly bold, but I have to admit to a rather shy nature which explains why on August 31, when some of my admirers came to wish me a belated birthday, they caught only brief glimpses of me. I was either playing peekaboo inside our home or “now you see me, now you don’t” in the swimming pool with Mom. This drizzly afternoon was perfect for practicing diving and holding my breath underwater, as I did not want to get rained on.
I would like to let you know that I appreciate all your visits and good wishes. I’m doing well. My preferred activities are playing with toys, learning to run on my growing legs, and sampling the same foods my Mom enjoys. The various flavors and textures have been a revelation. Watermelons are among my favorites, even if they are a challenge to open. All this eating has paid off. When I stepped on the scales earlier this summer, the number climbed above 500 lbs. (225 kg)! In order to reach my adult weight, which can approximate 9,900 lbs. (4490kg) in some of my male relatives, I need to celebrate a few more birthdays. So please keep checking in and I will try to do something silly to make you smile. I look forward to seeing you again soon.
PS: My dear and dedicated caretakers have made several films about me. My favorite is the one that shows me getting born and making it through the amazing first six months of my life. Watch it here.