Zebra snapped putting head in hippopotamus’s mouth

By | March 15, 2010

Zebra and hippo at Zurich Zoo - Image: Jill Sonsteby/Solent News A zebra at Zurich Zoo appeared to be staring into the jaws of death when visitors saw it nose to nose with an open-mouthed hippopotamus.

But the hippo had no intention of having the zebra for lunch – it was having its teeth cleaned.

The extraordinary sight was captured by photographer Jill Sonsteby, from Jacksonville, Florida.

She said the teeth-cleaning session lasted 15 minutes and the zebra came to no harm.

“The zebra was in the same enclosure as the hippo and its baby,” said Ms Sonsteby, 34.

“The hippo opened its mouth and let the zebra in there to clean.

“Everybody was snapping pictures. It was so great to be there at that moment.”


The hippopotamus is regarded as one of the most aggressive creatures in the world and has a bite that can cut a small boat in half.

Hippos can weigh up to three tonnes and are the third largest land mammal in the world.

Although they rarely kill each other, hundreds of fatal attacks on people in Africa have been recorded.

Despite its bulky frame, the hippo can outrun a human on land over short distances.

via BBC News – Zebra snapped putting head in hippopotamus’s mouth.

One thought on “Zebra snapped putting head in hippopotamus’s mouth

  1. Ann

    So, how did the hippo and zebra come to this agreement?

    Mr. Hippo said one day, “hey you, Zeb-man. Clean me teeth. Will you?”

    And, the Zebra, who didn’t have anything else do, except eat all day, thought, “sure, why not? I can kill two humans with one stone. Make friends with Mr. Hip and grab some tasty morsels to nip at the same time.”

    Yeah, but Mr Hip and the Zeb don’t even speak the same language. So, I guess they must have used sign language.

    But, then, the Zeb is not very good at making signs seeing how he has to stand on his limbs all day. And Mr. Hip – too big around the hip.

    Ok, so here’s what happened: Hippos, because of their bulk need a lot of sleep. So, while Mr. Hip was dozing off with his mouth gaping wide open – (hippos snore a lot). The Zeb saw some leftover food particles around Mr. Hip’s molar. And, he just helped himself.

    It must have happened just as Mr. Hip was waking up, because he wouldn’t have known who cleaned his teeth, if remained asleep.

    Next conundrum, please.

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