Giant toothbrushes for pygmy hippos
Thursday 20 July 2006
London Zoo’s hippos are road-testing new giant toothbrushes!
If you’ve ever wondered how hippos clean their teeth, wonder no more…
London Zoo’s two pygmy hippos Nicky and Thug will test brand new pink and blue giant toothbrushes on Thursday – with a little help from their keepers.
The hippos’ teeth are regularly cleaned by zoo keepers as part of their care routine and until now a broom for each hippo has done the job perfectly. This summer keepers decided the brooms just weren’t snazzy enough for the hippos and ordered two giant (5ft) toothbrushes for the pair. With a giant pink toothbrush for Nicky and a blue brush for Thug to call his own, dental care has never looked so much fun.
To celebrate the arrival of the hippos’ toothbrushes, London Zoo is inviting visitors to come along to the zoo with their own toothbrush on Sunday, July 23rd for Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush Day and enjoy half price entry. Visitors simply turn up at the main gate and show their toothbrush in exchange for a half price voucher that can be used at the entrance kiosks. They can also check the events board in the zoo for the times to catch the hippos have their teeth cleaned.
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Notes to editors
The photocall will involve keepers brushing the teeth of the hippos with the giant blue and pink toothbrushes. These look like real toothbrushes and the design of the hippos’ spacious enclosure will allow photographers to get a clear shot without glass or bars.
Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush Day
Visitors who bring a toothbrush to the zoo will get entrance to London Zoo for half the usual admission price.
Pygmy hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis) was included on the IUCN red list of endangered species for the first time this year.
They are from West Africa where they live in lowland forests and swamps, eating fallen fruits, ferns, shrubs and grasses.
Pygmy hippos usually spend daylight hours in or around the water keeping cool, but emerge to feed in the forest at night. Their hairless skin secretes a substance which may act as sunscreen and antibacterial agent.
Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity: our key role is the conservation of animals and their habitats. ZSL runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, carries out scientific research in the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in field conservation in other countries worldwide. For further information please visit www.zsl.org
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