He hippo in Japan zoo turns out to be a she

The 12-year-old came to Osaka Tennoji Zoo in 2017 from Mexico, where officials attested on customs documents that the then five-year-old was male

By AFP

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

 

'Gen-chan', a 12-year-old hippopotamus at the Tennoji Zoo in Osaka. — AFP
"Gen-chan", a 12-year-old hippopotamus at the Tennoji Zoo in Osaka. — AFP

Published: Tue 23 Apr 2024, 1:49 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 Apr 2024, 1:50 PM

Betrayed by its DNA and unmanly toilet habits, a hippopotamus in Japan thought for seven years to be a he is in fact a she, the zoo where the wallowing giant lives said Tuesday.

The 12-year-old came to Osaka Tennoji Zoo in 2017 from the Africam Safari animal park in Mexico, where officials attested on customs documents that the then five-year-old was male.


But zookeepers long scratched their heads, a spokeswoman told AFP.

In particular, Gen-chan did not display the typical male hippo behaviour of splattering faeces around while defecating -- with a propeller-like tail motion -- in order to mark territory.


Nor did it make courtship calls to females and zookeepers were unable to visually identify any male genitalia, a dangerous task in such a large and potentially aggressive beast.

"Therefore, we requested a DNA test at an external institution, and the result showed it was female," the zoo said in a statement posted last week.

"We will keep doing our best to provide comfortable environment to Gen-chan, so everyone, please come and see," it said.


More news from World