That Time a Hippo Stole my Heart

When you think of a hippo, you probably envision the behemoth African native that could quite frankly swallow you whole. The massive canine teeth, the gaping mouths, the beady eyes… None of these qualities necessarily coax someone into adoration. Enter Fiona, Cincinnati Zoo’s resident tiny titan. Born 21 January 2017, the little lady made her grand entrance at the zoo six weeks earlier than expected.


At birth Fiona only weighed a diminutive 29 lbs. On average, a Nile baby hippo would weigh close to 100 pounds. Staff rallied around their new tiny addition and provided round the clock care (literally 24 hours a day, seven days a week). After a month of intensive care, she barely tipped the scale at 54 lbs. Still dwarfed be her mom Bibi (3200 lbs) and her dad Henry (4000 lbs), the staff continued to work with her to build her strength and weight. was brilliant in their plan to make Fiona’s journey public. They created a blog, they rallied people to donate, they posted videos and pictures, they made products people could buy… This is how I found myself in love with that little hippo. The videos of her racing through the facility and the tiny smack of her feet on the pavement is too endearing for words. When they started cataloguing her water endeavors, I found myself saying, “Awww!” at the adorable twitch of her ears as she surfaced. Today, Fiona boasts the ability to handle the full depth of her swimming pool and spends more and more face to face time with her parents.


The staff at Cincinnati Zoo catapulted Fiona into the hearts of millions. They gave people the opportunity to know the fun personality that even Nile hippos can have.


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