Tuesday, March 13, 2018

October 24, 2017, Cincinnati Zoo -- part 2: Fiona!


Getting close to Fiona!  This is an African section for critters who can be out together.  This is a crowned crane.  We could look right down on it.  So close; no barriers....

And now, finally, we have arrived at the hippoquarium, and Bibi and Fiona are outside!

Bibi, napping against the plexiglas.

When you go to a zoo, you never know what you will see.  Your favorites may be inside all day.  Or they may sleep through your whole visit, and all you get are the "You see that blob over there?  Well, that's a hippo!" sort of pics.

So you have to take those blob pics, because they may be the only ones you get.

Our first in-person glimpse of Fiona!

Her left side is against the wall.  We are looking down at the right side of her back.

On October 24, we got lucky.  It wasn't a very nice day, so people stayed home and Fiona's usual crowd of fans was much sparser than usual.  That meant we were able to get up close and personal.

My better half's hand -- we could be 2" from a hippo.  Even a super-famous internet-star hippo like Fiona.

Sticking her nose above the surface of the water for a breath.

She is no longer "all brand new" as her six-month-old song described her.  She's a big-kid hippo now -- she weighed in at 550 pounds on October 26, 2017.  A long way from the 29 pounds she weighed when she was born (6 weeks premature)!

Mother and daughter.

This is the same plexiglas Bibi was napping against when we first saw her.  That bump above the water surface in the upper right is Fiona's nose.  Bibi is in the same position in the next three images.

Fiona seemed like she was trying to get near the window, despite her mother's presence there.  It really seemed like she was saying "MOM!  My fans!!!  I have to get near my fans!!!!!"

It's hard to imagine that anyone, even a 3000-pound hippo, could actually sleep through being bounced on by a 550-pound hippo, but I never saw Bibi open her eyes during this period.

"Fine, I'll go off and play by myself."

Lots of tilapia share the hippo pool.  They help keep the water clean, and the hippos as well (the fish nibble dead skin off the hippos).  (Hippos, like manatees, are vegetarians.)

There is a "rock formation" in the pool.  Fiona could get on top of it, and from there she could stand up on her hind legs to breathe.  She got up and jumped down several times.  (The previous image shows her just after she jumped off....)

Closer crop of the above.

It's really cool to watch hippos locomote.  They can't float or swim, but they sink really slowly.  They are very graceful, trotting under water.

Above water, and with no barrier -- this is what color Fiona really was.

The color is so different underwater.  I think the camera has intensified this color change, and I'm sure my editing efforts have made it worse.

Bibi is still trying to nap, but has moved and is now resting her chin on the "rock formation" Fiona dove off above.

These pics are requiring a lot of editing.  So much reflection on the dry side of the plexiglas......

This next image shows the water surface, with a leaf floating on top of the water, and several people's reflections on the plexi.  Sigh.

I've 'shopped the people out of the image, and have messed with the value and contrast........


After a while they left the water, and then we didn't see them.  Perhaps it was time for their lunch.

Closer crop.  That blob :-) is Bibi's back.  Her tail is near us, and her ears can just barely be seen over her neck rolls closer to Fiona.


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