Gus naps a lot. But he can be forgiven. He's only two months old. But when the tiny warthog is awake, he's a tornado of activity. "He's super speedy," says keeper Kim Siegel. "His two most favorite things to do are chasing birds and spinning in circles."
Though Gus is clearly no longer a newborn, he was only moved to the display area of the warthog enclosure last week. Siegel says that it's important to the zoo to give mother and baby sufficient time to bond, but other factors were in play, too. Weather was a concern, but also Gus' tiny size coupled with his creativity—Siegel and her colleagues were worried that he might dig a hole and disappear from his fenced-in home.
Gus was his mother Akoko's third pregnancy, but was her first child born in Houston. He's the first warthog to be born at Houston Zoo in close to a decade.
"She's a good strong mom, she’s very protective," Siegel says of Akoko. So protective, in fact, that she hasn't allowed Gus to meet his father, Lenny, yet, nor the zoo's other female warthog, Marge. Siegel says Akoko will likely relax, which will allow for all the warthogs to be integrated. For now, if you want to catch sight of Gus and his explosive energy, it's best to hit the zoo in the morning—in afternoon or evening each day, Lenny and Marge rotate into the part of the enclosure visible to guests.
Though Gus is the only pea-sized porker you'll see at the zoo right now, competition for cutest baby hog is heating up. On Tuesday, a duo of African red river hogs were born at the zoo. They're still too little to greet the public, but with their stripes and tasseled ears, they have us waiting with baited breath to meet them.