Photos and story by Molly Merrow (of course)
|Here comes Fritz (age 3 months)|
Welcome to Fritz's birthday week! The Cincinnati Zoo will have special treats for all the animals on Thursday, in honor of Fritz's first birthday.
How hard is it to be the little brother of the most famous hippo in the world? You would have to be very brave and bold, not to mention sassy, but Baby Fritz certainly can hold his own in this hippo family at Hippo Cove at the Cincinnati Zoo.
He was born on August 3 of 2022, accompanied by much anticipation and excitement. The fans of the famous Fiona were following Bibi's pregnancy day by day, anxious to meet the new family member. Would it be a girl or a boy? Would it be full term? How would Fiona react? How long until the whole family could be seen together in the pool? And a name for the little one, to go with Fiona?
He arrived right on time, healthy and weighing what a normal baby hippo should weigh. Big sister Fiona, now six years old, had come prematurely and weighed only 29 pounds, while a normal baby hippo would weight 50 to 100 pounds. Fiona made history by her upbringing by human keepers, who even brought in some vascular experts from the nearby Children's Hospital when Fiona needed IV's. Fiona's precarious journey was shared day by day by the zoo on social media, and Fiona became a worldwide sensation. She was eventually able to rejoin her mother Bibi and father Henry. Sadly, Henry passed away a few months after the bloat was reunited, but at least she got to know her daddy.
Bibi and her calf remained behind the scenes for several weeks, bonding. The zoo announced the baby's name when he was two weeks old. He was dubbed Fritz.
After a few weeks, Bibi and Fritz started to spend a little time in the outdoor habitat, away from Fiona and Fritz's dad Tucker.
|Fritz at 3 weeks, with his mom Bibi.|
|Fritz at 3 weeks, quite well protected by his mom.|
|Tiny Fritz, 3 weeks old.|
When Fritz was three weeks old, Fritz and Fiona met for just a few minutes. That time was increased gradually until Mother Bibi was comfortable with her two children being together.
|Little Fritz with mom and big sister.|
|Fritz poses for his portrait.|
At Bibi's birthday party in February, everyone got some treats. Here's Fritz, Bibi and Fiona at the wall with keeper Jenna.
|Fritz and the fishies in late July 2023.|
|Fritz with his dad Tucker, late July 2023|
|Fritz is popular with the kids|
|Fritz, so very cute, and almost a year old.|
|Nobody puts baby in the corner,|
unless baby is after a piece of lettuce.
|Snack time and Fritz, Fiona and Bibi line up. |
Tucker stays back and waits for his treats to be thrown.
|At Bibi's party, Jenna gives Bibi some lettuce,|
and Fritz hangs around with Fiona.
It has been a big year for Fritz. And more to come in his second year. Everyone is looking forward to a big party on Thursday, August 3.