At the Tennoji Zoo in Osaka, Japan, hippo hygiene is important. Thanks to training and consistent routines, hippopotamus Tetsuo understands how to get his teeth brushed (and get a quick physical check-up) from the careful zookeeper, a hippo tooth brushing professional. Watch and brush along.
In nature, cleaning symbiosis helps a hippo’s 40 chompers stay relatively well-cared for thanks to the feeding habits of fish and birds. A hippo’s self-sharpening teeth are used for both chewing and combat, and are quite unique. From New Scientist:
The visible canines grow throughout the hippo’s life, some reaching 50 centimetres in length. As the teeth don’t yellow over time, such hippo ivory is popular with poachers, and used to be made into dentures – most famously for US president George Washington.
These ferocious fangs are used for fighting and for shearing off plants close to the ground. Hippo back teeth are often not seen, but these unsung heroes munch up the 40 kilograms or so of grass the animals can consume every night.
There are more hippopotamus videos in the archives, or enjoy more dental care examples: Brush Brush Brush by Of Montreal and Straightening teeth with dental braces: An 18 month time lapse.
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