Bath-time for Cincinnati Zoo's tiny premature hippo

A premature hippo born at Cincinnati Zoo has knocked off two firsts in two days - standing for the first time and having her first ever paddling pool experience.

The tiny hippo was born six weeks premature on January 24. She requires around-the-clock care, including feeding via a tube, vet checks and temperature control.

She is now standing for a few seconds at a time, but video shows her whole body shaking with the effort of supporting her own weight.

She had her first pool experience at just two days old, in a small paddling pool.

"Most hippos are born in the water, but they can't actually swim," the zoo wrote on its YouTube account.

"Pool time will help her build muscles and balance and maintain an optimal body temperature of [35.5-36.6 degC]."

Zoo staff collect milk from the baby hippo's mother, Bibi, who was trained to stand still for ultrasounds during the prengancy. That milk is supplemented with formula.

It was at Cincinnati Zoo that 17-year-old gorilla Harambe was shot when a three-year-old boy climbed into the enclosure and was grabbed and dragged by the ape.


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