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Monday, March 12, 2012

Tiger fights plaque attack! Siberian big cat flosses on a nearby branch to stop his teeth decaying

By Simon Tomlinson

When you spend your life tearing through chunks of meat, you're bound to get a bit stuck between your teeth - not to mention the inevitable plaque build-up that follows.

But it's not a hygiene hazard that has escaped this Siberian tiger.

Showing off his impressive dental skills, he makes use of a handy branch to give his gnashers a good floss.

Banishing that bacteria: This Siberian shows he knows a thing or two about plaque prevention by using a branch to floss his teeth at Tiergarten Schnbrunn zoo in Austria

Doing so regularly can help prevent gum disease and gingivitis which can cause bad breath and tooth decay.

Photographer Jutta Kirchner, who captured the action in the big cat's enclosure at Tiergarten Schvnbrunn zoo, in Vienna, Austria, said: 'I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

'I've never seen an animal actively try to clean its teeth and I thought it was amazing.

'But I suppose they get things stuck in their teeth just like anyone else and find it just as irritating as the rest of us.'

Prancing on ice: Two of the zoo's Siberian tigers enjoy play time in the snow in another picture taken by Jutta Kirchner

Jutta has previously photographed Siberian tigers playing in the snow at the zoo.

The Siberian tiger lives mainly in the Sikhote Alin mountain region in east Russia.

In 2005, there were under 400 adult Siberian tigers left in the region, with an adult breeding population of about 250.

The population has been stable for more than a decade thanks to intensive conservation efforts.



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