The animal kingdom is full of intriguing oddities. Think of a funky new plume or a strange quirk. Take the pigmy short-horned lizard, for instance. It can shoot blood out its eyes to ward off predators. Or the snub-nosed monkey, which always sneezes to expel the rainwater from its nose. But did you know that this uniqueness extends to their teeth? These animal teeth facts can sure attest to it.
- Tusks are actually teeth. Here’s one fact your kid might love. Ever wondered why some animals have tusks? Or why they grow them? The answer is simple: tusks are elongated front teeth. Here’s another fun fact: they’re long teeth than continue growing.
In humans, teeth stop growing at a certain point. After all, larger teeth aren’t necessary for a human mouth. In animals that grow tusks, however, these elongated teeth play a role in their daily lifestyle. Whether it’s for foraging food or protection, a tusk serves as a multipurpose tool for those who wield them.
- Horse teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime. Speaking of teeth that continue growing, a horse’s teeth fall under this category. Horses are herbivores that mostly eat grass and hay. One could then imagine that this continuous mastication plays a number on their teeth.
Fortunately, because a horse continually grows their teeth, whatever enamel is ground down and eroded is replaced. The same goes for animals with similar eating habits, such as rodents and zebras.
- Sharks don’t get cavities
Shark teeth are perhaps one of the most well-known sets in the animal kingdom, often being the subject of many a horror film. Take away the scare factor, however, and one may begin to admire those pearly whites. According to the Smithsonian, sharks may even have “the healthiest teeth in the animal kingdom.” The reason for this is simple. Shark teeth consist of fluoride, which makes them extra-resistant to cavities. They also lose and replace their teeth every week, so you won’t see any holes in a shark’s teeth any time soon.
- Dog saliva has a high pH value
Much like sharks, you might find that your canine friend is more resistant to cavities than you are. The secret lies in their saliva. Unlike a human’s, dog saliva is less acidic, which neutralizes any acid attacks oral bacteria may face. Just make sure that your dog doesn’t have too much sugar in their diet. Too much of it and the acids may overtake your dog’s basic pH.
- Snails have more teeth than you think
It might be strange to think of snails as creatures with teeth, but they do. Snails have over 25,000 of them—more than any other animal combined. And like sharks, they lose and replace these teeth on the regular.But why do snails have so many teeth in the first place? The answer might lie with their seaward brethren. Marine snails are usually found clinging to rocks, and when they feed, they need to process any excess rock that might get in the way. Fortunately, their teeth-filled “tongue” (called a radula) allows them to do so.
- Humans and giraffes have the same number of teeth
This little fact might be hard to believe, but it’s true. We can’t blame you though—their teeth are located at the backs of their mouths, making them a little hard to spot. Giraffes instead use their tongues and lips to grab their food, before dragging them further into their mouths.
- A poisonous snake’s fangs are hollow
We all know venomous snakes bite their prey to release venom. But where does the poison come from? That’s right, their fangs. Instead of having the same dentin-and-pulp filled structure, a poisonous snake’s fangs are hollow. These fangs connect to the venom glands, which secrete the poison snakes need to kill or stun their prey.Note, however, that not all snake bites carry poison. Sometimes snakes do not dispense venom when they chomp down, known as a “dry bite.”
- Baleen whales don’t have “teeth,” but have plates made of keratin
If you’ve watched Finding Nemo, you might recall the big whale with a brush-like mouth that swallows up Marlin and Dory. That’s a baleen whale, and in the place of teeth, they have fringe-like plates that sweep up their meals. They don’t need teeth for sustenance, after all. Instead, they feed on the small shrimps and any unfortunate marine animal that manages to get caught up in their fringes.
- Beavers have orange teeth
Ever looked at a beaver’s teeth carefully? You might notice an orange hue to them. That’s because their tooth enamel contains iron, which makes them durable enough to chew down the bark.
- Dolphins use their teeth differently
Dolphins don’t need teeth, which is surprising considering how prominent they are. It does come in handy when they’re securing prey, or making use of their echolocation systems.
Animal teeth facts:
- The tallest living terrestrial animals, giraffes, only have bottom teeth. Another surprising tooth fact about giraffes is that they have the same number of teeth (32) as humans.
- Birds lack teeth, prompting them to swallow stones or grits to break up hard foods.
- The Egyptian plover is known as the crocodile bird because it flies into crocodiles’ mouth and cleans its teeth.
- Pigs have 44 teeth while armadillos have 104 teeth. Different animals have a different number of teeth.
- But other animals do not have teeth. The size of the animal does not indicate whether or not they have teeth or how many. Aside from birds, the most massive creature on Earth, the blue whale, lack teeth which may not be a big concern as its diet consists of tiny shrimp.
- The tusk of the narwhal is essentially a giant tooth.
- Snails may be small, and their mouth is no larger than a pin’s head, but these creatures have an incredible number of teeth. Snails have more than 25,000 teeth!
- Human teeth cannot regenerate and grow new ones when permanent teeth are broken. On the one hand, elephants can grow new molars six times in a lifetime. This molar can grow up to seven square inches and weigh more than six pounds.
- Another way to differentiate frogs from toads? Toads have no teeth while frogs do!
- Dolphins have only one set of teeth in their lifetime which consists of 250 teeth.
- Want to know more about dolphin teeth? They have an additional protective layer over their teeth to toughen them as they age. Because of this layer, you can know the dolphin’s age by counting the rings of their protective tooth layer.
- Humans lose their baby teeth during various times of childhood. On the other hand, bunnies lose their baby teeth while inside the womb.
More crazy animal teeth facts:
- Mosquitoes have 47 teeth!
- Losing a tooth? Sharks can and cannot relate. Confused? Well, these sea creatures lose their teeth each week, but also replace them with a new set of teeth.
- Tyrannosauruses had 60 teeth that grew up to nine-inches in length.
- Herbivores like cows and sheep do not have incisors. Instead, they use their lips to cut plants.
- Komodo dragons have a high count of oral bacteria. They easily infect their enemies with their sharp teeth.
- Turtles do not have teeth. Well, this was not always the case as once upon a time, during pre-historic times to be more specific, they did have teeth.
- Spiders do not have a full set of teeth. Instead, these insects have fangs.
- Chimpanzees may indeed be our relatives as they have the same number of teeth (32) as us.
- A horse’s teeth are larger in mass than its brain.
- Dogs’ saliva has a high pH level which makes them less susceptible to cavities. Still, man’s best friend can suffer from oral-related issues without proper care.
- Kittens have 26 very sharp milk teeth which are replaced within six months by 30 adult teeth, consisting of two upper molars, six upper premolars, two upper canines, and six upper incisors.
- Rats teeth never stop growing. Therefore, they need to gnaw to reshape and reduce their teeth’s size.
But trivia time is not yet over! When animals’ teeth are healthy, they are more inclined to be more energetic and happier. How can you tell if the animal is happy? Like humans, a laugh can be a good gauge of an animal’s happiness.
However, the real question is: do animals laugh? The answer is yes. “How?”, you may ask. Well, animals have different ways of laughing.
Here are the various ways animals laugh
These long-tailed, medium-sized rodents make chirping sounds when they laugh which you can usually get when they play or when you tickle them. Another fun fact for rats: they prefer being around rats who chirp more often as they view them as more fun to be with and more positive.
Playtime is the best time to get a dog laughing which is characterized by forced breathy sounds.
Chimpanzees and Gorillas
Although these species are deemed to be our closest relatives, the laugh of chimpanzees and gorillas is more like a dog’s than a human’s. Chimpanzees and gorillas have a breathy sound when they laugh which you can hear when they are tickled, wrestled, or played with.
Meanwhile, birds are said to mimic the sound of human laughter, partnered with heads thrown back as a way of laughing. However, some also consider a bird’s laughter as an expression of being territorial rather than of happiness.
What is considered a horse’s laugh is not actually a laugh. When they “laugh” or curl their upper lip, this is actually a way for the animal to get a better sense of smell.
Seeing that all types of animals exhibit laughter-like qualities, it shows us as humans that laughter and smiling should be normal components of life and that the condition of our teeth should not indicate whether or not we decide to do so. It’s interesting just how universal laughter is and that many animals out there “laugh” during playtime, just as we do as humans.