The Zoo is open! 
All guests, including Zoo members, must now reserve free, timed tickets prior to visiting.

Review the Zoo’s reopening guidelines and make a reservation

When you are ready to visit, we're more than ready for you! Until then we are happy to continue to #BringTheStlZooToYou for you stay connected to your Zoo. 

February 15, 2021

World Hippo Day

Smile, today is World Hippo Day! The Saint Louis Zoo’s Hippo Harbor and our behind-the-scenes rhino and hippo barn are home to our “pod” of three female Nile hippopotamuses. Tombi, Mashavu and Kiboko can be seen most days taking a snooze or swimming around in their outdoor pool. Hippos spend around 16 hours per day in the water, which is why our hippos always have access to their heated outdoor pool or indoor pool stalls.  #HippoDay #KeeperTakeover

Hippo Adaptations

Hippos have some special adaptations for their aquatic lifestyle. The hippo’s jawbone can conduct sound waves while under water, so when a hippo is sitting with its face partly submerged, it is able to hear noises both above and below the water at the same time. Although they spend so much time in the water, hippos can only hold their breath for about five minutes. They have a reflex that allows them to surface for air, even while they are fast asleep. Watch our ladies take an afternoon snooze in the water to see that reflex in action! #HippoDay #KeeperTakeover

Hippo Nutrition

While they spend most of their day in the water, hippos will emerge from the water and break away from their group to graze through the night. It takes a lot to feed a hippo! Our hippos eat about 90 pounds of food per day! Their daily diet consists of hay, fresh greens, and a pelleted grain that has all of the vitamins and nutrients a large herbivore needs in a day! #HippoDay #KeeperTakeover

Hippos in the Wild

As we wrap up our World Hippo Day takeover, we wanted to bring special attention to how crucial the Nile hippopotamus is to its ecosystem! During their nightly grazing, hippos create pathways through tall grasses that can be used for other species to navigate to and around the perimeter of waterways. Their grazing style is similar to a lawnmower in that they do not rip up grasses at the root—this allows for nutritious, green shoots to grow for other grazing species to enjoy. In the water, hippos use their tails to scatter their feces everywhere, which provides a very nutritious meal for small fish and invertebrates. In turn, these small aquatic creatures become food for much larger fish that other species (even humans!) will catch and eat! These fish will also help out the hippos by eating parasites/bugs off of the hippos’ skin. #HippoDay #KeeperTakeover