The Cleaning Station

By | July 19, 2011

Someone told me an interesting story about the relationship between hippos and certain species of fish, which inspired my latest work. Apparently the hippos in Mzima Springs of Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park go to an area where these fish are specifically to be cleaned.

The fish feed on vegetable matter/excreta voided into water by hippos:

  • A carp (Labeo) uses its wide rasping mouth to clean the hippo’s hide
  • Garra clean wounds
  • Barbus cleans cracks in the bottom of the hippo’s feet
  • Cichlids clean hippo tail bristles

Read more about this hippo/fish relationship…