SA's world famous hippo turns 14

2014-03-13 09:17

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Johannesburg - Jessica the tame hippopotamus celebrated her 14th birthday with a coconut birthday cake on Tuesday.

"It went off well yesterday [Tuesday]. One of her boyfriends spent the day here and even stayed overnight. He is still here today," said Tonie Joubert on Wednesday.

Joubert raised Jessica after finding her at a few hours old on the banks of the Blyde River with her umbilical cord still attached. Jessica now lives with the Joubert family near Hoedspruit in Limpopo.

Joubert said she had a coconut birthday cake, and also enjoyed some other goodies.

"We gave her some cake and she loved it. We also gave her some whole-wheat buns; normally we give her bread but she loved the buns also."

She also got five kilograms of carrots. Joubert said it was not raining there for her birthday on Tuesday despite heavy rainfall in other parts of the country. "We had some tourists here and people gave her birthday kisses."

Jessica is one of the country's most renowned tame animals. She weighs over 1400kg, and is a movie star with her own fan club and web page.

She loves Rooibos tea and drinks 20 litres of it a day.

She walks in and out of the Joubert house whenever she wants to, and sleeps on a mattress on the veranda with her best mates, five English bull terriers.

In April 2001, Jessica became a movie star at the age of one-and-a-half. At last count, 97 documentaries had been done on her around the world.  

"The most documentaries done on a single animal", said the proud dad.  

These included playing a role in the South African movie Mr Bones, documentaries for Animal Planet, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel.

She even got to feature on the Oprah Winfrey show.
Read more on:    animals  |  travel  |  travel south africa

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