Diver Visits Shrimp Weekly for Free Teeth Cleaning: WATCH
Going to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned can be an anxiety-inducing (and expensive!) experience, but one man found a rather peculiar alternative while diving along the coast of Hawaii.
Patrick Seligman was diving in Maui when he made a new pal: a colorful Pacific cleaner shrimp he found safely nestled in an underwater rock.
Pacific cleaner shrimp are known for feasting on dead tissue and parasites they remove from fish.
According to the Aquarium of the Pacific, "They will set up a cleaning station on coral or a rock and wait for fish to stop by to be cleaned of dead tissue and parasites."
As Seligman swam close by he caught the eye of the little shrimp, who had just finished cleaning parasites off an eel.
He removed his breathing device, opened his mouth and the brightly colored shrimp swam right in and got to work.
Seligman shared the moment via Instagram. "Self care ... don’t forget regular teeth cleanings," he captioned the clip of the shrimp working on his teeth.
His followers commented on the spectacular video.
"The shrimp got a special food delivery from the surface," one person wrote, while another commented: "You took Nemo to the next level!"
"They are pretty common on the reefs in Hawaii, but not all of them are willing to interact with humans," the diver told The Dodo about his special interaction with the Pacific cleaner shrimp.
Seligman enjoyed the experience so much it became a regular occurrence. Over the next few months, whenever he was diving near the spot he'd stop by for a cleaning.
He even brought friends along for the experience: "We dove there about once or twice a week. It’s definitely fun to stop there for the teeth cleaning, especially with friends who had never seen it before."
Seligman visited the friendly shrimp for about a year. "I think frequent visits to your local cleaner shrimp are an excellent way to maintain your dental hygiene," he joked.
Sadly, his regular visits ended after a strong storm, when Seligman visited the spot and found that the shrimp was gone.
The diver will remember the cleaner shrimp for the rest of his life: "[She] definitely feels like a familiar friend. And it's also fun to take advantage of a naturally occurring symbiotic relationship."