San Diego Zoo Baby Hippo Makes Splashy Debut

The 8-week-old hippopotamus took a swim at the San Diego Zoo.

ByABC News
May 22, 2015, 12:52 PM

— -- A baby hippo at the San Diego Zoo kicked off Memorial Day weekend a little early with a very public, and adorable, swim with her mom.

The nearly 2-month-old hippo, Devi, was seen by zoo visitors Thursday frequently popping up against the glass wall of the hippos’ 150,000-gallon pool to say hello.

Devi, like all hippos, can see underwater thanks to a membrane that protects her eyes, according to the zoo. This means that while the visitors were having fun watching Devi, she was watching them too.

Zoo officials say Devi is just beginning to venture out to the deeper parts of the pool and to the public viewing areas because she is now past the first six weeks of life, the period during which mother hippos -- in this case, Funani -- are very protective of their calves.

“Funani often had her tucked into vegetation near the shore, and kept her body between the calf and the public,” the zoo said in a statement on its website Thursday.

Devi and Funani share the hippo exhibit with Devi’s father, Otis, according to the zoo.

The young calf was born March 23, but zoo officials were only able to confirm earlier this month that she was a girl. Keepers estimate that Devi weighs between 90 and 100 pounds.

Funani weighs about 3,500 pounds, the zoo said.

Mother and daughter are viewable in the zoo’s hippo pool on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, while Otis is on exhibit the remaining three days of the week.