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Last Updated: Wednesday November 19 2008 16:17 GMT

Hungry hippo is fed by a puppet

Chico the hippo fed by a glove puppet

A hippo who stopped eating is now happily munching away again thanks to a to a glove puppet.

Chico, who is a type of hippo known as a pygmy, worried keepers when he went off his food.

After trying everything to get him to eat, they had a go with Gloria - a hippo glove puppet based on a character in the Madagascar film.

The zoo said they were surprised when it worked - now everyone who feeds Chico has to use the glove puppet!

A hungry hippo

Pygmy hippos like Chico need to eat quite a lot of food every day to stay well. When they live in the wild they can spend around six hours a day just eating.
Hippo and glove puppet

Head Keeper at Heythrop Zoo Michael Howes said he had been desperate to find a solution to Chico's eating problems.

He said: "We had been trying everything as Chico was refusing to feed and when I saw the Madagascar hippo puppet in the supermarket I thought I'd give it a try.

"We were extremely surprised when he took a liking to Gloria and we have been using it to feed him ever since."