Like many modern suitors these days, Timothy the Hippo has a crush — and he's taking to social media to woo her. On March 8, the San Antonio Zoo's hippopotamus posted a Facebook message to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden's Fiona, the one-year-old hippo who became an internet sensation in 2017 after she was born prematurely.
Since her rocky birth, she's gone on to become a healthy and, in Timothy's opinion, beautiful hippo. Fans have come from far beyond her Ohio home to see the little lady and take part in major milestones. (She even had her own birthday party earlier this year.)
All of this has captured the attention of Timothy, who used the San Antonio Zoo's Facebook page to declare, "Anyhoo, I have seen your pictures and videos on the internet at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and I think you are the most beautiful hippopotamus I have ever seen. Perhaps we can meet someday and be boyfriend and girlfriend? I am single and available."
Fiona countered via her own zoo's page, writing, "Any potential mate would have to be thick skinned and okay with taking a back seat. Are you okay with paparazzi? Are you willing to move out of the way during photo shoots? Most importantly, are you willing to relocate to Cincinnati?"
The flirtation was enough to get the attention of both the Associated Press and the New York Times. On March 9, the newspaper published a report about budding romance, and noted that Fiona and Timothy have at a few more years to go — and a few hurdles to get over— before they could potentially mate. In addition to a DNA test to determine comparability, young Fiona still has about four years before she reaches the optimal hippo breeding age.
And then there's the question of where the couple will live. It seems Fiona may not be keen on Lone Star life.
"It will be great for her to be able to stay here her entire life," Cincinnati Zoo's mammals curator Christina Gorsuch told the AP. "We never know for certain if that will work out."
Gorush also went on to tell the AP that Fiona will likely have "plenty" of suitors which certainly didn't deter Timothy. The hippo has since launched a Twitter account and returned to Facebook on March 12 to write, "I was so excited to hear back from your keepers at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden … sounds like you’re saying, 'There’s a chance!' OMG!"