Baby fever spreading at Baton Rouge Zoo - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Baby fever spreading at Baton Rouge Zoo

Pygmy Hippo Pygmy Hippo
Expectant mother giraffe reaches for a snack Expectant mother giraffe reaches for a snack
Zebra Zebra
Bongo Antelope Bongo Antelope

There's something in the water at the Baton Rouge Zoo, and it isn't the pelicans.

Pygmy hippos have faces that only a mother or another pygmy hippo could love.

"We're crossing our fingers that our female is pregnant," said Jennifer Shields. "It's really hard to tell in pygmy hippos."

In wild animals, pregnancy is a guessing game.  You don't just take a blood sample.  You have to watch for signs - like the way the female pushes the male around.

"Maybe she's just hormonal, give her a break!" said Shields.

But the hippo isn't the only one.  One of the giraffes may be ready to give birth to a baby the size of Shaquille O'Neal.

"The babies, when they're born are about 10 percent of the mother's weight," said Shields.

In all, more than five animal species at the zoo may deliver babies before the end of summer, a zebra included.  Several birds have laid eggs, and they can get a little testy.

Aside from a little extra food, those expecting at the zoo don't get a whole lot of pampering.

Trainer Jen Fortune is also expecting.

"They don't make me climb into the moat any more, or climb into small holes too much," said Fortune.

There are more bongo antelopes in zoos than in the wild.  If the zoo's little lady has a baby, as expected, the baby could make its way back to the mountains of east Africa.

If she does, it's Mary Woods' job to tell us about it, however, she may give birth herself first. "The inside joke at the zoo right now is who's going to give birth first, Mary or the giraffe," said Woods.

Five animals and three employees - the stork is going to be busy this summer.  So if you're planning a trip to Baton Rouge's BREC Zoo, you may want to bring your own water, or risk leaving with a little something extra.

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