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Moe the Hippo Turns 40-Years-Old on Nov. 3


The Zoo celebrates his birthday with special hippo activities.

November 1, 2013

Wish Moe the hippopotamus a happy 40th birthday at the Zoo on Sunday, November 3. The celebration includes feeding demonstrations, keeper Q&A and special enrichment items for the hippos. Zoo visitors can also enjoy discovery stations and sign a giant birthday card from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Zookeepers are making Moe birthday treats, including a 400-pound popsicle with Gatorade and vegetables and fruits frozen inside. To top it all off, Moe will be able to chomp down a watermelon crocodile that zookeepers sculpted for him.

"We're excited to be celebrating another birthday with the big guy," said Bricker Thietten, primary hippo keeper. "Forty is elderly for a hippo, but Moe is still going strong. He plays and pushes toys around the pool. He also likes to be a submarine with Karen and Boopie, the other hippos. The three of them rest together underwater, head to tail, in a triangle."

The animal care team gives Moe and other aging animals extra attention, tracking animals' behaviors, recording daily habits and making note of any changes. Because animals try to hide weaknesses that could make them easy prey in the wild, zookeepers carefully observe animals to detect subtle signs of discomfort. Meeting the needs of older animals is about more than just keeping them healthy. The Zoo creates habitats and social environments that support active, low-stress conditions.

"Moe has arthritis, which is common in older animals, including people," said Thietten. "But regular joint supplements, his healthy weight and the heated pool help alleviate joint pain, so he's still able to enjoy a good quality of life."

Moe, his mate Karen and daughter Boopie can be seen in the Africa section of the Zoo each day. Stop by on Sunday to wish Moe a happy birthday, and enjoy the birthday celebration from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Activities are included with general admission. For more information, email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).

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