Rhino Plays His Own Happy Birthday Tune on Piano at Zoo Celebration

Rhinoceros are more than the tusked, territorial warriors they are commonly recognized as. One rhino named Bandhu has challenged that stereotype by proving that is not only big and strong but also quite the artist.

Living in the Denver Zoo, Bandhu, which means "friend" in Sanskrit, turned 12 on May 18 and gifted himself a song played especially for the occasion.

In a video shared by the Denver Zoo on Tuesday, Bandhu can be seen showing off his piano playing skills as a staff member holds out a keyboard for him. He amazingly uses his large upper lip to navigate the keys, tinkering out an impressive version of Happy Birthday in honor of himself.

"Happy Birthday, Bandhu! Our resident male greater one-horned rhino turns 12 today!" says the Zoo's Facebook post. "It might be his birthday, but Bandhu wanted to treat you all to a special song he wrote all by himself. Using his prehensile lip to compose a tune is just one of the many ways we can use enrichment to mentally and physically stimulate the birthday boy."

Jake Kubié, Director of Communications at Denver Zoo, told Newsweek, "He was born in 2009 at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and has lived in Denver since 2015."

Happy Birthday, Bandhu! Our resident male greater one-horned rhino turns 12 today! Bandhu wanted to treat you all to a special song he wrote all by himself using his prehensile lip. Look out for Bandhu in Toyota Elephant Passage on your next visit to Denver Zoo! pic.twitter.com/LyZyX88IRW

— Denver Zoo (@DenverZoo) May 18, 2021

He explained that Bandhu's rigorous rehearsal schedule helps to keep him engaged, saying: "It gives him a chance to exercise his prehensile upper lip and builds the animal/keeper relationship. There's also an auditory component to this activity—they have a sharp sense of hearing."

Kubié also said the playful rhino loves to push logs and other large objects around his habitat and wade in the pools of mud and water.

The internet was more than impressed by Bandhu's performance and soon people flooded to the comments to wish Bandhu a very happy day.

"He's one of my favorites. I remember coming to the zoo every day with my young son about 6 yrs ago in the evenings and he would be galloping along the fence line every night," wrote one user.

Appreciating his music, another wrote, "He almost got a full scale in there at one point lolz!!! Thanks for sharing this cool video!!"

In another video from March this year, Bandhu is seen taking a stroll in the snow and relaxing in the hot water tub. A glimpse of him playing the piano can also be seen in this video. It appears his fans were eager to hear more of his music even back then.

"WOW! When you can, please show some more of him playing the keyboard. How fun! Thank you, keepers, for all you do!" one user had commented.

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"He (Bandhu) has reached sexual maturity as of this year, so keepers are starting to see him become more interested in Tensing," Kubié told Newsweek. Bandhu currently weighs in at about 5,000 pounds, a perfectly healthy weight for an adult male greater one-horned rhino.

Rhino Plays His Own Happy Birthday Tune
Bandhu, one-horned rhino at the Denver Zoo played himself a birthday song as he turned 12 on May 18, screen captured from Denver Zoo's video shared on Facebook Denver Zoo/ Facebook