They don’t call Wicket a hippo for nothing.
It took a crane to lift the 42-year, 3000-pound Nile hippopotamus into her new home at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where she is expected to wallow by day and graze by night. She’ll eat 65 pounds of hay and fruit a day.
She joins Cheyenne Mountain Zoo sisters Zambezi and Kasai. Wicket came to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo from Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, another Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facility.
Hippos are social animals and normally live in groups called pods. After her father passed away, zookeepers were concerned Wicket would be lonely, so arrangements were made for her to make the move to Colorado’s mountain zoo, where more than 500,000 people visit each year.
Wicket had to be wooed with treats into the shipping container. A special animal transport company then loaded the crate into a giraffe trailer, which looks like a giant horse trailer, and set out on the 17-hour drive from Chicago to Colorado Springs.
“Wicket was a little nervous when we opened the door to her crate,” said Tracy Thessing, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo animal curator. “But after a few minutes, she backed out and headed straight for the pool. Zambezi and Kasai were very interested to see who their new neighbor was.”
Wicket will be separated from Zambezi and Kasai during the standard 30-day quarantine period. One shouldn’t be fooled by Wicket’s wallowing. She can run up to 30-miles per hour and in her home country, in the rivers and lakes in sub-Saharan Africa, she is considered one of the most dangerous animals.