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Race to 1,000 lb: Colorado hippo is reaching a new milestone

Colorado's youngest hippopotamus is on the way to being 3,000 lb. when fully grown.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — One of Colorado's cutest animals is growing up.

Omo, a 21-month-old hippopotamus at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, will soon weigh more than 1,000 pounds.

The Colorado Springs zoo said the public can guess when Omo will hit that mark with the winner getting a prize. Guesses can be made on the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Facebook page.

The zoo said Omo is weighed opportunistically — or whenever he walks onto the scale separately from his 3,100-pound mom, Zambezi — so it doesn't happen every day. Zookeepeers will be watching for him to weigh on the big scale in the hippos' indoor training space.

For reference, the zoo said the young hippopotamus gained about 30 pounds in April and his last weight was 960 pounds on May 1.

Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Omo in May 2023.

Our growing boy will soon hit another milestone, and you could win a Zoo prize for guessing when it happens! Our...

Posted by Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Born underwater at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in July 2021, Omo was the first hippo born at the zoo in 32 years.

When born, the baby bobbed up and down in the water and swam right over to meet its 28-year-old mom Zambezi, according to the zoo.

Newborn hippos weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. After nine weeks, Omo weighed 200 pounds. He'll be 3,000 pounds when fully grown.

Omo is the fourth member of the hippo herd at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Guests can see Omo and the hippo family in the "Water’s Edge: Africa."

In August 2021, first-time Nile hippo father Biko smashed a watermelon with the insides dyed blue (with animal-safe food coloring) to reveal the gender of Omo.

“It was an incredible moment to see this beautiful baby join our family,” said Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's Philip Waugh. “Zambezi’s a first-time mom, but she knew just what to do. As soon as she delivered the calf, she turned around to greet it and started helping it to shallow water. I’m so proud of her.”

Mom Zambezi first came to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo from Denver Zoo in 1993.

In June 2020, Biko, a now 18-year-old long-legged male Nile hippo, joined the hippo herd on a breeding recommendation with Zambezi and her sister, Kasai. Biko and Zambezi took a shining to each other nearly immediately, according to zoo officials.

“Like any new couple, their first ‘dates’ had a few awkward moments, but once they connected, it was full-on hippo love,” said Waugh. “The two of them wanted to be together constantly, and we accommodated! They would do a hippo breeding ‘dance’ where they would swim nose-to-rear in a circle. We also saw them taking turns resting their heads on each other’s rear ends for little pool naps. They made it clear they liked each other. We saw their first successful breeding in November.”

Eight months later – a normal full-term gestation for Nile hippos – their little one arrived.

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