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8 February 2011, 13:19
He’s hoping to clean up with the girls, but so far nine-year-old male hippo Hoover has to be content with just getting close to the object of his desire, female Lola, his seven-year-old mate at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
Keepers have witnessed signs that the pair, part of a breeding programme, are interested in one another and have begun their unusual courting action.
Mating for common hippos begins with lip chattering, where they shake their lips vigorously at each other, followed by some head bobbing and plenty of snorts and grunts.
These “water horses” as they are known can mate in or out of the water, and Hoover and Lola have been seen eyeing each other up while circling in their muddy pool.
If mating is successful, the zoo could hear the thud of little hippo feet by the end of the year. Meanwhile, it’s hoped the forthcoming Valentine’s weekend will spark some big love for this heavyweight twosome. And for visitors to the zoo this weekend, there’s a further tempting treat in store, with a Flirty Thirty offer, running from Friday to Monday.
For more information visit www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo