Dive into the hippo pool at San Antonio Zoo

Did you know hippopotamuses don’t actually swim?

San Antonio Zoo hippo pool (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – Dive into the hippo pool at the San Antonio Zoo and take a tour of the exhibit with the animal care specialists.

The hippopotamuses that live at the zoo are 5-year-old Timothy and 45-year-old Uma, who is Timothy’s grandmother.

Divers, who are also animal care specialists, gear up in wetsuits several times a week to clean the pool which holds around 100,000 gallons of water, according to Katelyn Rode - the specialist in the video.

Hippos are very territorial animals and stay in the barn while the habitat is cleaned. The barn, which consists of several different rooms, is also cleaned every day and can be seen in the video.

Diving the hippo habitat!

Posted by San Antonio Zoo on Thursday, April 23, 2020

Want to know why the hippos don’t eat the fish? Check out the video around the 11-minute mark.

Explore the San Antonio Zoo from your couch

The water temperature in the hippo pool stays between 78 and 84 degrees year-round. The pool is approximately 8 feet deep at the deepest point and the water is constantly filtered through a life support system that filters the full 100,000 gallons several times a day.

Timothy and Uma get about 90 pounds of hay every day and lots of food means lots of poop, Rode said. When hippos poop they spin their tail and poop splatters all over the place, it’s actually how they mark their territory in the wild.

Did you know hippos don’t swim? They walk along river beds, gliding through the water and can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes.

Fun Fact: Timothy’s mom’s name is Karen and she lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Check out the video for more information about the hippos at the San Antonio Zoo and what goes on behind the scenes at the hippopotamus exhibit.


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.