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• Please review our current Health & Safety Updates (FPZ and SZ) before your visit.
• Non-Members: Online reservations are required for admission tickets.
• Members: Advance reservations for daytime admission are not required.


All About Animals

Pygmy Hippopotamus Family

  • Meet Cleopatra

    Cleo is a wonderful mom, devoting much of her time to son, Ptolemy. She's passed on her love of browse (leaves and branches) to him as well, and you'll see them both happily munching on leaves and branches like knotweed and mulberry!

  • Meet Inocencio

    You can often see Inocencio enjoying an afternoon nap or taking a dip in his pool. He loves getting special treats like pumpkin and watermelon!

  • Meet Ptolemy

    Ptolemy continues to grow, both in size and personality! He has a lot of confidence, and he's learned so much by watching his mom, including how to get on a scale to be weighed. Now that Ptolemy is bigger, his caretakers have introduced him to larger enrichment items like log feeders and boomer balls.

  • Calling all Hippo Helpers!

    You can help endangered species like the pygmy hippo! It's as easy as being more mindful of your choices when you shop. Help protect hippo habitat by purchasing products that use certified sustainable palm oil instead. Look for logos like these!

  • Fun Fact:

    Our hippos are international travelers! Cleo is Canadian, and Inocencio came from Chile. Baby Ptolemy is a Boston boy, born here at Franklin Park Zoo!

  • Fun Fact: 

    Pygmy hippos mark their trails by wagging their tails as they poop. 

Pygmy hippos, Cleopatra, Inocencio and Ptolemy, are in the Tropical Forest at Franklin Park Zoo.

See This Animal At the Zoo

They are both international animals, with Cleo coming to Boston from Toronto and Inocencio coming from Chile.  You can often see one of them in water just as the Zoo opens in the morning.


About the Pygmy Hippopotamus


Geographic Range:


Class: Mammalia 
Order: Cetartiodactyla 
Family: Hippopotamidae  
Genus: Choeropsis
Species: liberiensis

The pygmy hippo is a stout animal with a relatively small and rounded head and thick blackish skin. Like the larger Nile hippo, it excretes reddish droplets that soften and protect its skin. This creature is solitary and secretive in the wild. It's not vicious, but can be dangerous when disturbed. The pygmy hippo will attempt to intimidate potential enemies by opening its jaws and baring its canine teeth.

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