Here’s the moment when a hippo took a deep underwater nap and enjoyed a fish spa treatment with his tankmates.
Timothy, a six-year old Nile hippopotamus from Nile, loves to have a good snooze and his African cichlid companions can’t resist sneaking in for a bite.
This clip was taken on November 7, 2021. The fish school can be seen eating off the dead skin of the hippo’s head, before he wakes and shakes it off.
In their San Antonio Zoo tank, the fish will sometimes enter Timothy’s mouth and eat food.
“Fish Spas” are pedicure treatments that involve dipping your feet into a tub of water containing tiny Garra rufa ‘doctorfish’. These fish eat and remove dead skin.
Timothy, a six-year old Nile hippopotamus from Nile, enjoys a good snooze and his African cichlid companions can’t resist going for a snack.
However, suddenly the eyes of the massive 3,000-lb animal open. He roars into existence, sending the school to flee in a panic.
A sleeping Timothy is surrounded by numerous African cichlids. They seem to be picking at his skin.
The 3,000-pound beast suddenly opens his eyes and booms to life. This sends the fish school scurrying in an instant.
He quickly shakes his head, and then he takes a deep breath.
Timothy sinks down to the bottom of the tank and continues to sleep, as the fish draw closer to him.
Hippos may sleep up to 16 hours per day, and even though they can only hold their breath for 5 minutes, hippos have a reflex which will allow them to move their head for oxygen without awakening.
The mammals have a reputation for supporting mutually-beneficial relationships. For example, fish are often known to grab algae from the hippo swimming while wild birds may pick up parasites in their skins.
Timothy is well-known because of his advocacy for napping – even running an ‘presidential election’ in 2020 using the slogan “Naps For All”.
He has enjoyed such a huge popularity that there is a team dedicated to running his Twitter account with more than 5,000 followers.
He quickly raises his head to take a quick breath in the fresh air. His protruding nostrils barely touch the surface of the water.
Hippos are able to sleep up to 16 hours per night, despite being only able to hold their breathe for five minutes. However, their reflex will allow them to bob their heads up for air while they sleep.
The public first noticed Timothy in 2018 when San Antonio Zoo tweeted a romance tweet about him to try and win Fiona, his famous counterpart at Cincinnati Zoo.
He shared his cheeky tweet, in which he called Fiona a “beautiful hippie” and asked if she could become an item. It was shared thousands of times, generating further media attention.
The couple has a long-distance relationship that sees them send gifts each year to one another, and they also exchange adoring messages via Twitter and Facebook.
Fiona was quickly adored by her fans, even though she was prematurely born in 2017.
She grew to almost 700 pounds in the first year after she was born prematurely at 29.
Her curators focused their efforts on teaching her zoo procedures and helping her become a “full-time hippie” while the publicists of the zoo were trying to find potential tie-ins for her 1st birthday.
Fiona-themed Tshirts, books and ornaments, as well as beer, brought in approximately half a million dollars, while attendance at the zoo jumped by 15%.
The Nile Hippopotamus, a physically impressive aquatic mammal that can reach up to 4,000lbs can be found in the Nile River. It can also grow to as high as 12ft and up to 5ft.
They are fed regularly a varied diet that includes horse chow, alfalfa and vegetables at the Zoo.