Here at DZG we’re proud supporters of National Smile Month and encourage staff to brush up on their dental duties with a range of animals.
Head of Media and Communications, Jill Hitchman, said: “Several of the more manageable species within the collection, such as ungulates, including tapir and reindeer, plus sea lions and small primates have monthly check-ups when keepers have a good look at their teeth and gums to spot early signs of any oral problems. “Regular dental checks play an important part of their veterinary care and ensure big smiles all round for staff and animals.”
Senior keeper Laura Robbins pictured above has been keeping a close eye on three-year-old Brazilian tapir, Ronnie, who has begun to lose his baby teeth.
She said: “Ronnie has started to get a few adult teeth at the front.
“They look very different as they are much larger than the flatter baby teeth, and just like humans, the adult teeth push out the baby ones.” Ronnie has a way to go until all 32 adult teeth come through, but keepers will chart his progress with daily mouth checks, which they carry out on all five tapirs in the South American paddock.
National Smile Month (NSM) campaign runs from May 20 to June 20 and promotes easy ways to look after oral health across the UK.
There’s plenty to smile about in the South American paddock as this juvenile Brazilian tapir is keen to show!