Cute Bird Gives Giraffe A Free Dental Check Up As It Pecks Away At Bits Between Its Teeth

Going to the dentist is a tedious experience at best, and this image suggests that it is no different in the wild. In Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a giraffe waits for a red-billed oxpecker to complete working as its dentist.


Despite his bird-generous friend’s act, the giraffe looks to be everything but thankful, making a succession of sour expressions during the ‘check-up.’ The red-billed oxpecker is a typical sight in Sub-Saharan Africa’s plains, where it spends the day perched atop huge wild beasts.

Ticks and blood are their favorite meals, and they ‘hunt’ in the backs of antelopes, zebras, and giraffes, as well as their gums. Yulia Sundukova, a 36-year-old photographer from Moscow, Russia, captured the incredible photographs last month. ‘It was really amusing to see – everything was like going to the dentist,’ Ms Sundukova recalled.

‘The bird swooped up and began plucking food from the giraffe’s teeth, continuing to do so even while the giraffe stood there appearing irritated and restless.’ The most amusing aspect was the giraffe’s posture, which reminded me of how humans act at the dentist – it just wanted the visit to be over as quickly as possible.

‘It’s an incredible interaction – the birds take food off of their mouths and are always following large creatures like buffalos, giraffes, antelopes, and others.’ They assist each other out: the birds obtain good food like ticks and larva, while the giraffes acquire good teeth. The birds can even warn them of impending danger.’

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