Celebrity Hippo Enjoys Tea at South African Nature Preserve

A South African hippopotamus who has been featured in more than 100 documentaries has developed a taste for rooibos tea, as visitors to the nature preserve where she lives are invited to bottle-feed her the locally popular beverage.

The hippo, known as Jessica, gulps down up to 20 liters of the caffeine-free tea per day at her home in Hoedspruit, South Africa.

It’s usually advisable to give hippos a wide berth, as they are thought to kill about 500 Africans a year, making them the deadliest large land mammal on the planet.

But not Jessica. It’s a highlight for visitors to give the hippo a drink at the nature preserve named after her in the Limpopo region of South Africa.

This video posted on TikTok by Fausto Vietri, who was at the preserve with his family, shows the hippo enjoying a large bottle of rooibos tea given to her while visitors were encouraged to rub her nose under the watchful supervision of her caregiver.

A local news outlet reports Jessica “drinks up to 20 liters of rooibos tea a day” and has been in 106 documentaries.

According to a website dedicated to Jessica, her carers, Tonie and Shirley Joubert, rescued the hippo just hours after she was born in 2000. The calf was swept downstream near their home because of devastating floods in Mozambique and South Africa. Credit: Fausto Vietri via Storyful

Video transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

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A dee-ba-dee-ba-dee. A dee-ba-dee-ba-doo-ba-doo. A doo-ba-ba doo--

Doo. Ba-doo-ba-doo-ba-doo. Ba-doo-ba-doo-ba-doo-ba-doo. Doo-ba-doo-doo-doo. A-doo-ba-doo-ba-doo-doo-doo ba-doo.

A doo. A-doo-ba-doo-ba-doo. A-doo-ba-doo-ba-dee-doo-doo. A-doo-ba-dee-ba-doo. A-doo-ba-doo-ba-doo-dee-doo-doo-da-doo.

A-dee-ba-dee-ba-dee. A dee-ba-dee-ba-doo-ba-doo. A doo-ba-ba doo--

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