Today is National zoo awareness and so we have 10 fun facts about animal teeth we bet you didn’t know.
The zoo is a great place to learn and to take children during these summer holidays. Did you know that humans aren’t the only species with really interesting teeth? Every animal has its own dental problems and characteristics, and some of them can be really weird. So we have put together 10 fun facts about animal teeth for National Zoo awareness day.
With such large teeth, it’s hard to believe that Tiger cubs are born without any teeth at all, just like us humans. However, after a few short weeks, tigers get their milk teeth or baby teeth. Their teeth fall out like humans, but not until the adult teeth push the milk teeth out. Their teeth are nearly 8cm long, they have 30 of them which are designed to tear their prey apart. Like humans, they also have premolars and molars to help with breaking down their food once their razor-sharp front teeth have torn into it.
Tigers have large gaps in their teeth. Next time you see a tiger yawn at the zoo, notice the big space between the molars and canines. This makes it easy for them to grasp their prey tightly. We can actually accurately guess the age of a tiger by its teeth, too. Their teeth grow throughout their life until they fall out as the tiger enters old age.
Giraffes have no upper front teeth
Just like humans, giraffes have 32 teeth, but most of them are positioned in the back of their mouths. They use their lips and 20-foot long tongues to grab leaves and twigs and grind them up with their back teeth.
The Hippopotamus has 36 teeth that include one canine, two incisors, three premolars, and three molars on each side of their jaws. Some hippos may have up to 40 teeth because they can retain their milk teeth for several years after reaching adulthood. They also have the longest canine teeth of any animal. They are 50cm long! These long incisors of a hippo can bite right through a small boat. Hippos’ teeth sharpen themselves – by constant grinding against the shorter upper canines. A sad fact is that a hippo will starve to death if its molars wear down too much to break down food.
As a zebra grazes, it uses its sharper front teeth to bite the grass, and then uses its duller back teeth to crush and grind. A zebra’s teeth keep growing for its entire life, because constant grazing and chewing wears them down. Zebras are constantly on the move to find fresh grass and water. How many teeth a zebra has varies from species to species however out of the three extant species of zebra, two have 36 or 40 teeth, depending on sex, and one has 42 teeth. Their teeth patterns are very similar to those of domestic horses.
An elephants Tusks their incisor teeth and are used for defense, digging for food and water, and carrying and lifting, but not for eating. In addition to their tusks, elephants also have four molars inside their mouths. A single molar can weigh up to five pounds/ 2.27kg. An elephant goes through six sets of molars in a lifetime. As one set wears down from grinding and chewing plant material, the next set pushes through.
You can tell a dolphin’s age by its teeth. Just like trees, dolphin’s teeth have rings inside them that tell how old they are. Like most mammals, newborn dolphin teeth are still embedded in the gums. Their teeth will start erupting in the first 5 weeks of life.Their teeth are permanent, but they don’t use them for chewing—dolphins swallow their food whole because they have no muscle in their jaws.
You may think that you have now seen all the amazing teeth facts of animals however despite not technically being a zoo animal we couldn’t resist telling you about the animal with the most teeth. 14,000 – 20,000 of them !
Yes, its the near snail which have the most teeth of any animal. Snails teeth are not like regular teeth. A snail’s teeth are arranged in rows on its tongue. A garden snail has about 14,000 teeth while other species can have over 20,000. But that’s not even the most shocking part: The teeth of an aquatic snail called the limpet are the strongest known biological material on Earth, even stronger than titanium! What an amazing creature.
Who knew animal teeth were so interesting?
Have you been to the zoo lately? Did you know any of the facts above? or did you learn something new and interesting?
One thing is sure, no matter who the teeth belong to, man or animal, healthy teeth are important! Our dentists can help you keep your smile in tip-top condition! Just call us on (01227) 375592, chat or email us on email@example.com