If you’re not already familiar with Fiona, the baby hippo who was born at the Cincinnati Zoo on January 24 and has since become nothing short of an international phenomenon, then we suggest you head on over to the zoo’s Facebook page and spend some time going down that hole; updates (complete with adorable photos and videos) are posted regularly.
Fiona’s story is pretty amazing: Not only was she the first hippo to be born at the zoo in 75 years, she was also born six weeks early and 25 pounds lighter than usual. Premature hippos born in captivity rarely survive, but thanks to around-the-clock care by the 25 members of “Team Fiona,” she’s thriving. And did we mention that she’s freakin’ adorable?
An important part of keeping Fiona healthy, of course, is making sure that she eats right. But because of her low birth weight she was unable to nurse on her own. So what exactly is she being fed?
At first, Fiona was fed a combination of her mother’s milk (which, contrary to popular belief, isn’t actually pink) and formula, according to NPR. According to Cincinnati.com, it’s warmed to exactly 100 degrees, “and if it's too hot or too cold, Fiona won't drink it.”
While working her way up to more complex food, a couple other things have since been introduced. In March, hay was added to her diet, but not just any hay; it’s actually been pre-chewed by her mother, Bibi, in order to introduce good bacteria to her gut. And last month, grain was added to her diet; according to the zoo she eats about a cup a day and “prefers it mushy.” By the time she’s fully-grown she’ll be eating seven pounds of grain daily!