Saturday, May 26, 2007

R.I.P., Puddles; mate Cuddles reportedly OK

Puddles, a hippopotamus who charmed visitors by spinning his tail to scatter his poop, died yesterday after spending 43 of his 44 years at the San Francisco Zoo. The 3,200-pound male Nile hippo began displaying signs of respiratory distress and had trouble standing early Friday, a day after he and his longtime mate Cuddles, 45, were moved by crane to temporary quarters while their home is revamped. "There's no real evidence that any real part of the move caused this situation," Bob Jenkins, zoo director of animal care, told the San Francisco Chronicle. He noted that Cuddles was relocated in the same manner. The couple was together about 43 years, when they parented 16 calves -- eight male, eight female. Despite her widowed status, Cuddles appeared in good spirits, Jenkins said. [Photo: Puddles eating a pumpkin, Chronicle]

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