- Title: Healthy happy hippos get teeth cleaned with hose
- Date: 31st July 2019
- Summary: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC (JULY 30, 2019) (REUTERS) FEMALE HIPPO MARUSHKA OPENING MOUTH, RESTING CHIN ON BARS OF ENCLOSURE ZOOKEEPER STROKING MALE HIPPO FANDA'S NOSE / MARUSHKA AND FANDA OPENING MOUTHS ZOOKEEPER BRINGING HOSE OVER TO MARUSHKA / MARUSHKA OPENING MOUTH AS KEEPER SPRAYS WATER ZOOKEEPER SPRAYING WATER FROM HOSE / MARUSHKA STANDING WITH MOUTH OPEN MARUSHKA'S EYE MARUSHKA AND FANDA HAVING MOUTHS CLEANED WITH HOSE MARUSHKA OPENING AND CLOSING MOUTH ZOOKEEPER CLEANING FANDA'S MOUTH WITH WATER HOSE, AND RUBBING FANDA'S NOSE (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) PRAGUE ZOO SPOKESWOMAN, LENKA PASTORCAKOVA, SAYING: "We perform such oral hygiene for the hippos several times a week. There are several reasons for this - we are removing the remains of their food from their mouths, from the teeth as well as from the folds of the gums. This is also a kind of amusement, enrichment for them and also the gums are massaged by the water stream. In summer this is also a form of refreshment for them." ZOOKEEPER FEEDING LETTUCE TO FANDA ZOOKEEPER RUBBING MARUSHKA'S NOSE / MARUSHKA EATING CARROT AND LETTUCE FROM FLOOR FANDA OPENING MOUTH / ZOOKEEPER FEEDING FANDA, WALKING OVER AND PATTING MARUSHKA ON NOSE / MARUSHKA EATING (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) HIPPO KEEPER, JIRI SVOBODA, SAYING: "They like it very much. We started with the cleaning by chance: once I tried to move them outside using the hose and they enjoyed the water stream very much so we started doing this. During this they are also drinking the water, it's a form of entertainment and they are rewarded with a carrot or cabbage afterwards." VARIOUS OF MARUSHKA AND FANDA CHEWING STRAW IN ENCLOSURE MARUSHKA AND FANDA WALKING TO OUTDOOR ENCLOSURE MARUSHKA SWIMMING IN POOL MARUSHKA SWIMMING UNDERWATER
- Embargoed: 14th August 2019 10:04
- Keywords: hippos Prague Zoo teeth cleaning hippopotamus zoo animals dentistry
- Location: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
- City: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
- Country: Czech Republic
- Topics: Environment,Nature/Wildlife
- Reuters ID: LVA001AQ3ZO6X
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: While many humans might get anxious about a trip to the dentist, for hippo mother Marushka and her son Fanda in Prague Zoo getting their teeth cleaned with the aid of a hose is a source of joy, their keepers say.
What started as a means to coax the hippos out of the hippo house, turned out to be a good way to dislodge the remains of food from their teeth and the folds of their mouths.
As a bonus, 19-year-old Marushka and three-year-old Fanda find the experience entertaining, keeper Jiri Svoboda said.
Instead of a lollipop the two hippos are rewarded for their good behaviour during their teeth-cleaning session with lettuces and carrots.
Hippos' front teeth can grow up to half a metre (19 inches) in length and are used for defence and by males in fights over territory and mates.
The animals graze using strong, muscular lips and chew their food with teeth placed further back in their mouths.
Without friendly humans with hosepipes to help them keep their teeth in good shape, wild hippos often allow small birds and fish into their mouths to remove leftover food and parasites.
(Production: Jiri Skacel, Louisa Naks, Lewis Macdonald)
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