Newborn pygmy hippo gets swimming lessons at Metro Richmond Zoo

Iris the pygmy hippo and her 3-week-old calf go swimming. (Courtesy Metro Richmond Zoo)
Iris the pygmy hippo and her 3-week-old calf. (Courtesy Metro Richmond Zoo)
Iris the pygmy hippo and her 3-week-old calf go swimming. (Courtesy Metro Richmond Zoo)
(1/3)

A newborn pygmy hippo is splashing into the New Year at the Metro Richmond Zoo in Moseley, Virginia.

On Tuesday, “Iris and her 3-week-old calf were moved into the zoo’s indoor pool area for some hippo swimming lessons,” the zoo announced on its website.



“The baby followed mom cautiously into the water. As normal, but remarkable nonetheless, the calf’s natural instincts kicked in and she started swimming immediately,” the zoo said.

They also said “the calf is becoming more comfortable with her new surroundings by splashing in the water and playing with the underwater currents.”

“As a precaution, we lowered the water level in the pool so the baby’s head could stay above the water,” the zoo said. “Now we are conditioning the calf to swim by slowly increasing the water level each day.”

Visitors to the zoo can now observe mother and baby through viewing windows in the indoor pool area.

The zoo said “Iris and her calf will stay in the indoor area until the baby is large enough to navigate the outdoor habitat.”

Though the baby doesn’t have a name quite yet, the zoo says it is reviewing all the suggestions they’ve received.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up