The Verge Review of Animals: Bibi the hippo

The Verge Review of Animals: Bibi the hippo

This column is part of a series where Verge staffers post highly subjective reviews of animals. We haven’t told you whether animals suck, rule or not. We are now rectifying this oversight.

There’s nothing like a baby hippo to remind me there are still good things in this world, and we have Bibi the hippo to thank for a brand-new 60-pound social media star.

Bibi, a hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo, gave birth to her latest little one this week. To commemorate her achievement, the zoo has gifted us with a Twitter feed filled with little ear wiggles.

Bibi and baby did well overnight. The baby and Bibi were close friends, spending the night together in indoor swimming pools.

— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) August 5, 2022

I don’t know about you, but I need these little snippets of joy.

Does it suck to wear a mask while writing in my office because I don’t want the latest COVID-19 surge to derail my summer plans? Yes. Is it possible to get breakouts from the mask? Yes. Am I analyzing every pimple for signs of monkeypox? Yes. Is it 101 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I’m worried that blasting the AC is only contributing to the climate crisis? Yes. Does my blood pressure rise? I’ll tell you after the weekend since checking it at the drugstore constitutes a nice date out with my husband nowadays.

Thankfully, I can take solace in wholesome animal videos. I feel good knowing that somewhere, there is a baby hippos in a swimming pool.

The newborn hippo has spent most of the day in the indoor pools with Bibi, exploring, resting and nursing, which is exactly what the hippo care team was hoping for. The majority of hippos’ lives are spent in water, and the hippo calves can even be found nursing underwater.

— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) August 4, 2022

So, here’s to you, Bibi. You, like every mama, are the real hero. Everyone loves to ooh and ahh over a baby. But I see you, girl. You kept up your normal schedule of chilling at the zoo right up until you went into labor. You didn’t get any of the modern benefits of becoming pregnant.

Senior hippo caretaker Jenna Wingate told Cincinnati Magazine that Bibi didn’t get to indulge in any pregnancy cravings, even if she had any. They just kept feeding her a typical hippo diet of 20 pounds of timothy hay, five pounds of grain, and 20 pounds of produce, the magazine reported.

Bibi apparently gave birth on watermelon day, and the zoo says the baby probably weighs at least 60 pounds. Rest up, lady; they don’t call it labor for nothing.

This strong little hippo calf is doing well and staying close to Mom. It couldn’t have been a better birth date for a hippo, as he/she was actually born on World Watermelon Day.

— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) August 4, 2022

This was apparently also a surprise, unplanned pregnancy. Around April Fools’ Day, “Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden staff members were informed that 23-year-old hippo Bibi was pregnant. Since she was on birth control, most assumed that the news was a joke!” the press release announcing the birth says.

We know that Bibi is the best-loved woman in the world.

This is 23-year-old Bibi’s second little hippo, and despite the surprise pregnancy, things seem to be going more smoothly now than they did with Bibi’s first calf, Fiona. Fiona was born six weeks premature at just 29 pounds. The tiny hippo quickly won over the internet, and it seems like her little sibling will follow in her big footsteps.

I just watched this over and over over! It will be yours! Bibi’s baby looks like his sis Fiona. @Enquirer @CincinnatiZoo

— Liz Dufour (@ldufour) August 4, 2022

Now, the whole family seems to be doing well. Fiona’s a healthy 2,000 pounds. Bibi and the new baby will stay backstage at the zoo for now. In the wild, hippos will leave the herd for a week or two to bond with the baby, according to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

So, for now, the only way for the public to see them at the moment is online. (Although you need a zoo membership to watch the webcams.) Oh, and if you have any good baby names in mind, you can submit those online, too.

And, because this is a review, we’ll end on a makeshift scorecard for Bibi, the Hippo mom extraordinaire.


  • Hippos are only pregnant for eight months before giving birth, even though their babies weigh 10 times as much as a human newborn.
  • Bibi appears to be a great hippo mom.
  • Bibi has gifted us with not one but two baby hippos to coo over.


  • Bibi’s baby hippo is too big for me to pick up and cuddle.

Overall score: 11/10

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