Two hungry hippos have had their Christmas dinner early this year, as zookeepers at Whipsnade Zoo served them up a whopping 5kg of brussels sprouts.
Four year-old Common hippopotamus Hodor and his mum, 1.5 tonnes hippo Lola, were invited to try a new vegetable this festive season by their keepers, who thought they would love the taste of the much-maligned Christmas side-dish.
Although the hippos had never tried sprouts before, their keepers were hopeful that brussels sprouts could be a new favourite, based on their love of cabbages and the similarity between the leafy vegetables.
They immediately devoured the pile of 260 brussels sprouts, hoovering them up with their massive mouths in a matter of minutes. Some of the sprouts did take a tumble into their pool, but the pair were quick to dive in and rescue the stray vegetables floating in what looks like a river of gravy.
Team leader Mark Holden said: “If you think the brussels sprouts on your Christmas Day plate are unappetising, just look at these sprouts, bobbing around the hippo pool.
"Hodor and Lola not only seem to think brussels sprouts are an unmatched delicacy, but they are very happy scooping any runaway veg out of their brown, wallowing-pool with their giant jaws!
“Some people are worried that eating brussels sprouts on Christmas Day might give them flatulence, but that’s just everyday life for a hippopotamus! They defecate to mark their territory, so they certainly don’t mind a bit of ‘wind’ between family members!”
Families wanting to walk-off their Christmas dinner can visit Lola and Hodor, as well as elephants, tigers and 9500 more animals, throughout December, for a wonderful winter’s day out at Whipsnade Zoo. Tickets can be booked in advance at zsl.org.