Baby hippo goes for a Sunday morning swim at the Cincinnati Zoo

Posted at 12:43 PM, Jan 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-30 07:00:05-05

CINCINNATI -- Pool noodles aren't just for people: Staff at the Cincinnati Zoo are using them to help a baby hippopotamus get used to the water.

The calf, born early Tuesday, has been gaining strength and weight as staff look after her around-the-clock.

After a good night's rest, she woke up Sunday and went for a dip -- she even dunked her little head in the water and blew some bubbles:

"She's able to hold her head up, and she's starting to learn how to breathe with the water," a keeper said.

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Her mother, Bibi, was conditioned to stand still during ultrasounds throughout her pregnancy, zoo officials said, so she is comfortable with zoo keepers collecting milk. The calf is still struggling with bottle feeding but has started to suckle a bit.

It's the first Nile hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 75 years.