WATCH: Birth of baby hippo is latest lockdown arrival at Colchester Zoo

Pygmy hippo calf born at Colchester Zoo. Picture: COLCHESTER ZOO

Pygmy hippo calf born at Colchester Zoo. Picture: COLCHESTER ZOO - Credit: COLCHESTER ZOO

Zookeepers have announced the exciting arrival of a baby pygmy hippopotamus at Colchester Zoo.

Pygmy hippopotamus Venus gave birth to a healthy female calf last weekend with the help of her breeding partner Freddie, after a gestation period of six months.

The Animal Care Team at Colchester Zoo say the little one is doing well and has been happily running along after mum since its arrival.

The name hippopotamus derives from the Greek word for ‘river horse’ as they spend a lot of their time in the water.

For now the youngster is finding her feet on dry land, but zookeepers say it won’t be long before the new arrival is taking her first dip in the water.

The Animal Care Team have weighed the youngster to check it is growing healthy and strong, but the pygmy hippopotamus is much smaller than typical kinds, weighing up to 300kg compared to the 3,000kg a common kind can weigh.

This youngster was conceived naturally by Venus and the zoo’s male pygmy hippopotamus Freddie, who are already an established breeding pair.

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This is fantastic news for the conservation of this species with the Pygmy hippopotamus currently being listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

A spokesman for Colchester Zoo said: “Pygmy hippopotamus are solitary animals, meaning that they live alone until breeding season when they come together and part again.

“Venus and Freddie here at Colchester Zoo live separately as they would in the wild and are only introduced to one another when it is time to breed. Any offspring will usually stay with their mother for the first few years of their life and so this new arrival will continue to stay with mum for some time, but as in the wild she will not be mixed with Freddie.”

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