Monarto Safari Park

Animal Facts

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  • Species:

    Hippopotamus amphibius
  • Conservation

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Meet the humungous Hippopotamuses!

Monarto Safari Park is home to two gorgeous hippopotamuses, Brindabella and Pansy. They are settling into their brand new habitat in the Wild Africa precinct. You can meet the hippos in our sneak peek safari experiences. Either, by taking the journey aboard the new 22-seater safari trucks in the Safari Adventure Tour, or fully immerse with the Premium Safari Adventure Tour in brand-new 9-seater Safari Landcruisers.

Brindabella was born in 1990 and weighs a whopping 1,584kg! Brindabella was born at Werribee Open Range Zoo, where she was raised and gave birth to Pansy in 2013. Keepers describe her as a strong-willed and independent hippo. While she takes her time in building trust with her keepers, she has a warm and friendly nature. Her nature has been crucial in developing behaviours for proactive healthcare, including voluntary teeth cleaning and immunisations.

Pansy was born in 2013 at Werribee Open Range Zoo. She weighs in slightly smaller than her mother Brindabella at 1,180kg. Pansy is a cheeky young hippopotamus who enjoys being the centre of attention. She is starting to develop independence and confidence during training sessions with her keepers. She is also consistently first to come over for mealtime. Talk about hungry, hungry hippos!

Brindabella and Pansy arrived at the park in December 2023 from Werribee Open Range Zoo.

In the wild hippopotamuses are native to sub-Saharan Africa and live in rivers surrounded by grassland.

They are semi-aquatic animals and spend up to 16 hours a day in water. This is because their skin needs to be kept wet and too much time out of the water in the heat of the day can lead to dehydration. They then come out of the water during the evening to graze. They’re big animals, but only eat an average of 1 to 1.5 per cent of their body weight (that’s not a whole lot compared to cows which eat 2.5 per cent!).

Despite spending most of the day in the water, hippos don’t actually swim! Due to their dense body mass they sink to the bottom and trot along the river bed. Hippos are well adapted to life underwater, with a clear membrane protecting their eyes and the ability to hold their breath for around five minutes. Even being built for the water they can still clock up some serious speed on land, reaching up to 30km/h!

Hippos are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. The hippo population is estimated to be between 115,000 and 130,000 animals. The primary threats to hippos in the wild is habitat loss and illegal hunting for meat and ivory (found in their canine teeth).

Love Hippos? Join our wild family today and make sure these massive mammals stay a chomp ahead of extinction!

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About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction.

Zoos SA acknowledges the Country on which we stand always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we pay our deepest respect and gratitude to Kaurna (Adelaide Zoo) and Ngarrindjeri (Monarto Safari Park) Elders, past, present and emerging.

We undertake critical conservation work throughout Australia and acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands.

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