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Hippo Day Spa (video)

Watch how hippos get cleaned in the river at Nzima in Africa in this fascinating National Geographic video.

Dozens of freshwater sharks with underhung mouths come up to the hippo as he rests in the water and scrape along his skin like pool cleaners, getting a nice meal of dead skin, algae and parasites.

In the hippo spa a number of fish pitch in to perform their special services. Some smaller fish, for example, clean out at the cracks between the hippos toes.

But the sharks get another reward. The hippo opens his mouth, and the sharks do a good job of cleaning his tongue and teeth getting all kinds of yummy rich pickings in the process.

Have you ever been to a day spa that provided such full service?

Photo credit: giselle azevedo

Related:
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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Pets, Videos, Wildlife, , , , , ,

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55 comments

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4:33AM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

Now, that was interesting!! I've never seen anything like that before!!

11:22AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Very interesting

11:39AM PST on Dec 26, 2011

What an interesting video! That yawn at the end was HUGE! I never knew Hippos could open their mouths so wide.

5:51PM PDT on May 31, 2011

so wanted to see it after the description, but not there anymore...

3:26PM PST on Feb 7, 2011

Thanks for the post, very interesting the services, the fish, carp and birds perform all around the hippo. Could not see the video... blocked in Canada,,,surprising from National Geographic...maybe they want me to buy their magazine???

11:05AM PST on Dec 14, 2010

They're very unusual but interesting creatures.

1:46PM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

This kind of video is so good to get out to the public so that we can all stay more aware of how important it is for all of us to protect this amazing world we live in. We are slowly destroying it in so many different ways, when we should be doing all we individually can to protect and preserve it.

10:26AM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

Seems to be blocked in UK too... Strange !!

1:07PM PDT on Aug 13, 2010

I can't watch the video, says blocked in my country.

6:26PM PDT on Aug 11, 2010

The fish are not sharks but tropical freshwater carp of the genus Labeo. They are sometimes called 'sharks' by aquarists because the body shape of some species can resemble a small shark. The barbels and suckers on their mouths are typical of carp and help them feed in murky water.

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