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

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Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe6 years ago

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

Lauren Tebo
Lauren Tebo7 years ago

Very interesting

Erika Miller
Erika M7 years ago

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

Valerie G.
Val G7 years ago

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

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M8 years ago

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???

Robert O.
Robert O8 years ago

They're very unusual but interesting creatures.

Danielle S.
dani T8 years ago

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.

Borg Drone
Past Member 8 years ago

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

Monique D.
Mon D8 years ago

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

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y8 years ago

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.