Man spanks hippo at Los Angeles Zoo

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 7:14 AM Updated:

LOS ANGELES (KCAL/KCBS/CNN) – A man who climbed over the barricade into the Los Angeles Zoo’s hippopotamus enclosure and hit one of the creatures on the rear, may face trespassing charges.

The video, which was originally posted to Instagram but has been making the rounds on social media, shows the unidentified man carefully creep up on two hippos, 4-year-old Rosie and her mother Mara.

When he finally gets close enough, the man reaches out and slaps Rosie before quickly jumping out of the enclosure. He takes a moment to celebrate, raising his hands in the air triumphantly, then runs away.

The hippo who was slapped does not show much of a reaction in the video, but her mother seems a bit startled and looks up as the man is still in the enclosure.

It’s not clear if the man knew he was being recorded.

The Los Angeles Police Department confirms they got a report of trespassing at the zoo, and they are investigating. According to California law, it is prohibited to enter zoo enclosures, and doing so may lead to a misdemeanor charge or infraction.

Because neither of the hippos suffered injuries, the case is not being investigated as animal cruelty.

While hippos at the zoo do have human interaction, this kind of treatment can create an unpredictable situation.

"The zoo would like to remind everyone that it is never acceptable for a guest to enter the habitat of any animal at the zoo... It is a privilege to observe these rare and endangered species, but they are still wild animals and their space must be respected at all times," said the zoo in a statement.

However, zoo visitors are allowed to pet the hippos from behind a barricade as a part of the Hippo Encounter promotion.