Tadpole, one of the Birmingham Zoo’s oldest land animals, dies at 41

Local News

(Courtesy of Birmingham Zoo)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Tadpole, a hippopotamus who spent 41 years at the Birmingham Zoo, died Friday following health complications with his kidneys and bladder. He was 41 years old.

Tadpole first came to the Birmingham Zoo on June 16, 1979 and resided in his indoor and outdoor habitat in Trails of Africa. According to the zoo, Tadpole was euthanized after a period where his kidney values increased and he stopped eating. After his death, a large number of bladder stones were identified on his necropsy.

In addition, Tadpole was one of the oldest living Nile hippopotamus at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoo.

“He was known to enjoy sleeping in his pool during the day, playing in the hose, and eating his favorite foods of apples and bananas,” a release from the zoo stated. “He was fondly described by his caretakers as ‘sassy.'”

In addition, the zoo also announced the death of its 14-year-old Komodo dragon, Matt, who was euthanized Thursday after experiencing hind limb weakness caused by hearth failure. Zoo staff say this condition is not common in reptiles and that they are awaiting additional testing to determine an underlying cause.

Matt had been at the Birmingham Zoo since September 17, 2009.

“The passing of Matt Komodo dragon and Tadpole hippo is a devastating loss for not only our staff and volunteers but also for our guests who loved them,” Birmingham Zoo President & CEO Chris Pfefferkorn said. “Both animals were beloved longtime members of our Zoo family and always received the best care and attention from our Animal Care staff. Matt and Tadpole hold a special place in our hearts, and they will be deeply missed.” We are thankful to our extended Zoo family and the community for your continued support during this time.


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