Slimy, sweaty but sweet, pygmy hippos are solitary creatures. Because they are native to humid rainforests, their skin oozes out a pink fluid that mimics sweat and works like sunscreen to avoid dehydration! Here at Zoo Miami, we have three pygmy hippos. The male, Pogo, was born in 1999. This charming creature is known to love women, and can be quite the ladies man. Typically mellow and sweet, he is easy to train, as his love for peanuts motivates him! He is also a sucker for a good belly rub, and also has a soft spot for scratches behind his ears. Kelsy, the 21-year-old female, is much more aggressive than Pogo, and very smart. While she isn’t nearly as mellow and passive, Kelsy is highly food-motivated, so she’ll be on her best behavior for some peanuts or other treats. On the other hand, keepers have reported that this mischievous hippo has a pretty nasty habit of spinning her tail around when she defecates as a way of marking her territory! In November 2010, Kelsy gave birth to a baby girl, Asali. For a while, Asali shared living space and food with her mother, but as she got bigger, and more hungry, she was moved to her own living space with her own food. Now, Asali is still spoiled and treated like the baby by her zookeepers. She is very friendly, and while she sometimes tries to act more aggressive, she is just too sweet to pull it off! Asali is now about half the size of her mom, and nowhere near fully-grown yet.
Zookeepers keep these creatures busy and entertained by giving them fun items like boomer balls, coconuts and palms to shred, push around and play with. They are fed different produce every day, though nothing compares to their love for peanuts. These slippery animals love to be rubbed and pet, and their “sweat” becomes foamy like soap when they are scratched! One of their favorite activities is shower time, and with slimy skin like theirs, who can blame them?