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Bath Time for Nikki

Keepers give Nikki a Bubble Bath

Keepers give Nikki a Bubble Bath

A girl loves her bubble baths & Nikki is no different.  Indian rhinos love water and are in fact great swimmers.  Although Nikki is given access to a nice deep pool in her exhibit every day, we make sure she gets good and clean with soap, water and a rhino washcloth.  Rhino keepers Renee Carpenter and Shelby Reichelderfer use Zafari Animal Wash, which is designed for rhinos, elephants and hippos, to lather Nikki up.  You can imagine the elbow grease it takes to get a rhino clean!

Nikki's skin

Skin Getting Scrubbed

Nikki loves her baths and likes to eat a snack of bananas, apples and carrots while she is bathing.  Her favorite part is getting a “belly brushing”.  Nikki’s bath moisturizes and conditions her skin and allows us to do a visual inspection and verify she looks healthy and happy.

September 11, 2010   2 Comments

Eating for Two

hay for nikki

Carrying Hay for Nikki

Commissary keeper Michael Berry came by this morning and dropped off produce and hay to rhino keeper Renee Carpenter for Nikki.  The Zoo’s commissary delivers fresh produce to the rhino barn every day and hay is supplied twice a week.  Because rhinos eat a lot of hay, today we unloaded a lot of it!

Nikki eats bamboo leaves

Nikki eats bamboo leaves

Nikki has an important job to do, not only is she pregnant for 16 months, but she will give birth to a 100-lb baby!  Our Curator of Nutrition, Barbara Henry, specially designed a balanced diet to make sure Nikki gets all the nutrients she needs during her pregnancy.  Indian rhino are herbivores or vegetarians.  In the wild, Indian rhinos eat grass, fruit, leaves, branches and aquatic plants.  They use their prehensile lip to curl around branches and bring them into their mouth.  Nikki’s daily diet consists of ¾ of a bale of timothy grass hay (34lbs), 10 lbs of specially formulated nutritionally complete herbivore pellets, 6 apples, 6 bananas and 6 carrots.  Nikki is also given special treats during training or medical procedures, like ultrasound exams.  These treats include horse apple oat biscuits, alfalfa hay and Nikki’s absolute favorite…..PEANUT BUTTER.

September 10, 2010   7 Comments

Lounging Poolside During the Homestretch of Pregnancy

Like most pregnant women in late summer,  Nikki can be found lounging in her private pool daily as her pregnancy comes to an end.  At 4,100 pounds, you can easily imagine the weight water’s buoyancy takes off Nikki’s aching bones.

relaxing in water

relaxing in water

Indian rhinos are the most aquatic of the five rhino species, so Nikki would normally enjoy dips in her 40-inch-deep pool.  The water is more appealing than usual when she’s carrying a 100+ pound rhino calf!  And, with temperatures outside reaching record highs in Cincinnati, and the pool set to a cool 55-60 degrees, Nikki finds herself spending more and more time in the soft waters of her hideaway.

Beginning October 1, Nikki will no longer have access to her pool, due to her approaching due date,  but for now you can stop by the Zoo and see Nikki daily, lounging by the pool and counting down the days to her due date.

What was your favorite way to stay comfortable during pregnancy?

September 9, 2010   2 Comments