The royals are not the only ones celebrating with a three-tiered cake this week, with Australia’s oldest Nile hippopotamus ringing in his 53rd birthday in style.
Brutus was today treated to the cake made from watermelon, rockmelon and honeydew, with a few extra treats thrown in for good measure.
Over the years the hippo’s appetite has decreased, and is now down to half a bale of hay a day and a watermelon a week, said his Adelaide Zoo keeper Nathan Langley.
“Brutus is a very happy hippo, but as an older gentleman he is starting to show some signs of slowing down,” he said.
But he wasted no time in devouring his birthday meal.
“It doesn’t take long for a two-tonne animal to get through a watermelon. They don’t muck around,” Mr Langley said.
Brutus was born at Taronga and arrived at Adelaide Zoo in 1975 with his female breeding partner Susie, who birthed 17 calves before her death in July last year.
“Fifty years is a good innings, 53 is an achievement in itself,” Mr Langley said.
“But there have been hippos get up close to 60 years old.
“We take each day as it comes with Brutus. He’s on a bit of medication to help with his arthritis.”
As an extra present, Brutus has just had his pond given a birthday clean.
While he also has cataracts, keepers expect him to remain one of their star attractions.
“He’ll live out the rest of his days here by himself,” Mr Langley said.