Everyday,  Personal

Zoo Week – Meeting the hippos!

I love hippos, I don’t know when I feel in love with hippos, or when I decided that I wanted to meet some, but it did. I remember one time while looking at the Adelaide Zoo website, that they did a ‘Behind the scenes tour‘ with the 2 hippos they have!

After waiting a few years due to not having  funds, then moving back to Sydney, I wasn’t sure if I’d get the chance.  So when I decided to visit Adelaide I made the decision i’d dip into my savings and finally cross it off my bucket list. I am so glad I did. SO GLAD.

The Hippo encounter cost $85. This includes entry in to the zoo ($31.50), an hour long ‘behind the scenes tour” & some vouchers. The Hippo encounter had me meet the 2 hippos, as well as the meerkat and giraffes!

We arrived at 8:30am, an hour before the Zoo opened to the public. We met the Volunteer who would walk us to the exhibit, as well as the 3 other people doing the experience with us.

These animals are AMAZING! Just, WOW! We got shown into the hippos night enclosure. They are put into a separate section of a night for their own safety and for keepers to have access to their day housing. The keepers never get in with the hippos, they always have a fence between them. The pictures here, show the metal bars that are always between the hippos and the animals. While animals can be somewhat ‘domesticated’ growing up around humans, hippos have so much power and these beauties weigh in around 2000kg!

We got to feed both Susie & Brutus! As soon as we entered the area next to their night quarters, the hippos made their way out of the water to walk up to the bars and open their mouths wide, basically saying ‘feed me’. We fed them carrots (they liked to have 3 or more carrots before they chewed them up!) as well as a sort of trail mix.

After feeding, they became a little more relaxed, and Susie rested her head on the bars to get some pats. Yes, I got to pat a hippo! We were able to pat the front of Susies mouth. It is hard to describe how they feel, but they have strong whiskers that feel similar to straw.

Brutus and Susie are both in their mid 40s (Susie was born on 30th December 1967 and  Brutus,was born on 18th May 1965), which is ‘old’ in hippo years. Hippos typically live 40-50 years in captivity.

We were then taken into their day quarters, where we then spread out hay over the concreted area. After that, we went back into an area where we got to watch them make their way from night to day quarters.

I’m still in awe I got to meet a pair of hippos! That I got to feed them, and pat them! I look at the photos and think “eh, they don’t look so big”, but I’d say they were around 5ft tall. Standing next to them, I felt tiny,  at 5″6 and 108kg, i’m far from tiny!  I’m so glad I decided to do this experience.

But it didn’t end there, we then got to go on and feed the meerkat family and giraffes! That’s coming up in the next post!