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Day 480 of Pregnancy for Nikki

Nikki - Indian Rhino

Today is day 480 of Nikki’s pregnancy. Indian rhinos are pregnant for 462 – 491 days, so she could deliver her calf any day. Many visitors ask the same questions when they’re watching Nikki, so here are the answers to your FAQs…

Q: Why doesn’t she have water in her pool?
A: The water temperature is too cool for Nikki and would be too cool for the baby. She still has access to plenty of drinking water.

Q: Does she give birth lying down?
A: She’ll probably be lying down for the final push but goes up and down during labor.

Q: How long does labor last?
A: About 3 hours.

Q: How much will the calf weigh?
A: 80 – 100 pounds

Q: How much does Nikki weigh?
A: 4,299 pounds!!

Q: When will the calf start to nurse?
A: About 30 minutes – 2 hours after birth

If you have any other questions, please post them.


1 Caitlin Davignon { 10.19.10 at 3:20 am }

Will the baby be able to stand up right away?
Has Nikki had any false alarms? ie. seems like labor, and then not.
How soon after the birth will it be posted.

2 Sara Sheets { 10.19.10 at 7:57 am }

Will you post a video of the birth?

3 Laura { 10.19.10 at 12:59 pm }

Wondering why Nikki’s horn has been removed? Would this not cause her confusion and distress? Hoping she sees her precious calf soon.

4 Laura { 10.19.10 at 1:39 pm }

…..sorry but a Greater One-Horned (Indian) rhino is supposed to have a horn. I find those photos of Nikki without her horn very disturbing…..please explain?

5 Michelle Curley { 10.19.10 at 9:06 pm }

Nikki’s horn has not been removed. She has worn it down by rubbing it against rocks and trees. Horns, much like fingernails, continue to grow. So, it could get bigger if she doesn’t file it as much.

6 Michelle Curley { 10.19.10 at 9:12 pm }

We will announce the birth as soon as it happens. The video monitors that were set up in Nikki’s barn for 24-hour monitoring will remain on during the birth. We’ll post portions of the video on the blog.

7 Laura { 10.21.10 at 5:05 pm }

Why would Nikki file away her horn Michelle? – is this anxiety/OCD behaviour? Does it cause concern for her welfare team? Could her environment not be altered to ameliorate this situation – less abrasive materials within her reach, materials that would “give way” before her horn did? Does she have enough space?

8 Michelle Curley { 10.22.10 at 9:30 pm }

Dr. Stoops provided more details on the Indian Rhino’s horn… In the wild rhinos do rub their horns against trees and rocks so it is a natural behavior that rhinos do. When most people think of Rhinos they think of the African species. African species such as the Black Rhino and the White Rhino have long horns. Indian Rhinos don’t have very long horns to start with, so when they so rub their horn, it is generally more apparent . Nikki has more than enough space to participate in normal Indian rhino behaviors. Indian rhinos spend most of their time in the water; wild Indian rhinos spend 80% of each day in the water. Because water is so important to Indian rhinos, Nikki is provided two pools in her exhibit. In addition, the Cincinnati Zoo has a very extensive enrichment program and Nikki is provided with enrichment items to promote good physical/mental health and exercise.

9 Robyn Tierney { 10.23.10 at 12:31 am }

Do we know what Nikki is expecting? Girl or Boy??
Can’t wait to hear the big news!! Do you caregivers have any names in mind or will there be another contest like with Lucy the bearcat and the tiger cubs?

10 Laura { 10.23.10 at 1:09 am }

…..sorry Michelle – still not convinced.
According to the species information for Indian Rhino’s (Rhinoceros Unicornis) currently available on Cincinnati Zoo’s own website –
“A rhino horn can be more than three feet long, though it is usually only about a foot”.
According to The Rhino Resource Centre an Indian Rhino’s horn is typically 8″ – 24″ in length.
Where does that leave Nikki? I think the word EXHIBIT says it all.
I hope efforts will be made to provide her with a more natural environment.

11 RagMan { 10.23.10 at 8:36 pm }

Hey Laura, have you ever been to the Cin. Zoo? I thnik not! This organization does the very best for all of the animals. That is why it is in the top ten Zoos in the country. I don’t care if you believe the representatives or not. Why don’t you keep you negative thoughts to yourself, it doesnt help. We are the first in science advancements in conservation of the animals. The keepers love our animals and are treated very well. RM

12 Raquel { 10.23.10 at 10:20 pm }

Who are you Laura? Why are you so adamant that Nikki is unhappy, and poorly treated? If she WASN’T happy and healthy, she wouldn’t have carried this pregnancy to term. If you ever HAVE gone to the Zoo and spent any time watching her, you’d see how content she is. This pregnancy is something to be excited about…and this blog is meant to be a unique opportunity for us Zoo fans to express our joy and good sentiments, not to criticize the animal husbandry efforts, which are exceptional, by the way, at the Cincinnati Zoo. This is a large part of the reason we are called the “sexiest zoo.” You should take the Zoo class about rhinos; it takes you behind the scenes and you can meet the wonderful keepers and see how they pamper and treat the rhinos. You can tell that the love is mutual between rhino and keeper. Enjoy this beautiful day….go to the Zoo!

13 bucko { 10.23.10 at 11:48 pm }

While I respect Laura has the right to her opinion on the blog,and the right to say it,I respectfully disagree. Cincinnati zoo does a wonderful job. They are consistently rated as one of the top zoos in the U.S. There is nothing wrong with Nikki’s enclosure. She has a very dedicated staff of people working at the Cincinnati zoo,who are working in her best interest. It would be great if we didn’t even have to have zoos,and that rhinos and other endangered species could exist in the wild free from harm from poachers,but that is not the case. Zoos and their conservation efforts are helping educate the public about conservation efforts. Cincinnati zoo is making huge advances in science to conserve these animals. I will continue to support Cincinnati zoo and their important conservation efforts.bucko

14 CarolW { 10.24.10 at 2:45 am }

Well said bucko!

15 Laura { 10.24.10 at 3:39 pm }

I had asked why? Nikki had filed her horn away only out of corncern. I had noticed redness & irritation around her horn area in the video clip of her ultrasound scan, and she seemed to have drawn blood. I would like to know why she filed her horn away, I think it matters.
I would also like to ask why, when an aquatic environment is so important to Indian rhinos, her pool has been taken away from her – particularly at a time when the buoyancy of water would be especially comforting and therapeutic for her. Must this not have caused her confusion and distress. If the answer is that the water would be too cold, then how are you providing her with the environment she requires? Could attempts not have been made to heat her pool?
As I have said before, and for her sake, I hope she sees her precious calf soon, and a healthy calf.

16 brooke { 10.25.10 at 12:17 am }

can we see nikki at this very moment when she is being watched?

17 brooke { 10.25.10 at 12:18 am }

can people see nikki when she is being monitored?

18 Maria { 10.25.10 at 10:50 am }

Can you see her baby move or kick like you sometimes can see with pregnant humans?

19 Kerri { 10.25.10 at 8:48 pm }

I have several questions:
1. Will the baby be up walking right away?
2. Are rhino babies born with any teeth?
3. Are you planning on keeping the baby there at the zoo for quite some time?
4. What kind of noises do baby rhinos make vs. a mature adult?
5. Are you able to post a picture of what the baby looks like on ultra-sound?

20 Tricia { 10.27.10 at 12:42 am }

Is it possible for the rhino to carry two calves at once?

21 SAMANTHA { 10.28.10 at 12:05 am }

wat wais the how did it daie

22 SAMANTHA { 10.28.10 at 12:06 am }

how did the baye roino daie

23 dundee_she { 10.31.10 at 4:56 am }

Laura did you know your comments are offensive to the zoo keepers and your now known all over the world as a little bad mouthed shit ….dundee scotland

24 PreciousRhinoLover { 11.05.10 at 9:46 pm }

I think Laura is right. The should be set free or taken to the Ohio River. I think she might like going to a natural water source where she can float around until the baby is born. This also might stop her from trying to grind off her own horn. How sad. I think Laura is right; the Nikki is obviously depressed. Why else would she try to ruin her own horn? Plus she is tired of people looking at her. P.S. Kerri- Rhino babies definitely don’t have teeth. Too Dangerous for the mom..

25 ZooLover { 11.05.10 at 9:54 pm }

PreciousRhinoLover- you are a complete moron. I’m happy that you care about Rhinos, but putting her in the Ohio River would kill her. Do you want a dead Rhino on your hands? She is probably just upset from carrying a baby around for so long. My cat likes to rub her paws on things to file her nails, so maybe that’s why Nikki wants to file her horn. Also, the Ohio River is dirty and has dead bodies so Nikki could get an infection which would bad. Furthermore, i’m not sure she can swim in water so deep. What would happen if she had to give birth in the water? You clearly haven’t thought about these things. I don’t like how you treat the wonderful trainers at UC Zoo. It’s a wonderful place and they do a great jobs. Also, I’m pretty sure Rhinos are born with teeth so they can chew things. I hope it chews PreciousRhinoLovers fingers off. Much love, John

26 Free the Animals { 11.06.10 at 1:47 am }

PreciousRhinoLover has the right idea. Let’s let all the animals in the zoo run free! The rhinos could take over the Ohio River, stopping all boat traffic; the primates can swing from the trees in Mason; heck, lets let the giraffes live at the Great American Tower, they can stick their necks out of the tiara!

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