He hippo in Japan zoo turns out to be a she

He hippo in Japan zoo turns out to be a she

/ 06:07 PM April 23, 2024

Japan hippopotamus

This undated handout image released to AFP by Osaka’s Tennoji Zoo on April 23, 2024 shows “Gen-chan”, a 12-year-old hippopotamus at the Tennoji Zoo in Osaka. The 12-year-old hippo – who came to Osaka in 2017 from a zoo in Mexico at the age of five and had been believed to be male – turned out to be female after a DNA test, the zoo in western Japan said. AFP

TOKYO — 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.


READ: Colombia grapples with Escobar’s hippopotamus legacy

In particular, Gen-chan did not display the typical male hippo behavior 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.

READ: Endangered pygmy hippo born at zoo for first time in over 30 years

“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.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

TAGS: animals, Japan

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.