Africa’s most dangerous animal will make its debut in time for the upcoming Eid holiday at the Al Ain zoo in the United Arab Emirates. The hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) is a massive herbivore that roams swamps and shallow waters throughout sub-saharan Africa.
My stepmother kissed Jessica the Hippo on her rubbery snout last year in South Africa, but get between a normal mother and her calf, and you may as well say your prayers.
Mature male hippos can weigh as much as 3 tonnes, but that doesn’t stop them from running at speeds of up to 19mph, and they are very unpredictable. They may appear docile, but they’re fearsome animals that have until now been kept out of view of Emiratis who frequent the Al Ain zoo.
This doesn’t mean they weren’t always there. Gulf News reports that hippos have been a part of the zoo’s animal collection for a long while, but this is the first time that they will be presented to the public.
It’s not easy to keep hippos in captivity – especially not in a sauna like the Gulf region. They require special facilities to ensure they can stay suitably cool.
Unlike Egypt’s zoos, which are mostly rundown places that badly neglect the wild animals they keep, the Al Ain zoo is a respected facility that has conducted a variety of breeding programs over the years.
They have ensured that the hippos will have access to water that is cleaned with a special filtration system as well as shading trees and shrubs.
There will be five hippos on display in sum and the zoo is open to visitors during the Eid Al Fitr holidays from 10am to 10pm; thereafter the exhibit will be open from 4pm to 10pm.
:: Gulf News
image via Tafline Laylin