We’ve already shared with you some fun trivia facts about your own mouth, but humans aren’t the only species with really interesting teeth. Every animal has its own dental problems and quirks, and some of them can be downright weird.
Here are 10 interesting, strange and fun facts about animals’ teeth.
- Snails have the most teeth of any animal. But they’re 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!
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- Sharks constantly lose their teeth. Sharks’ teeth are positioned in rows within their mouths that simply move forward as they lose them. They usually lose at least one tooth per week—that’s why you can find so many shark teeth on the beach.
- Rabbits, squirrels and rodents have teeth that never stop growing. They have to chew on tough foods like nuts, leaves and bark to wear down their teeth and keep them from growing too long.
- Hippopotamuses have the longest canine teeth of any animal. At 3 feet long, the incisors of a hippo can bite right through a small boat.
- Horses can have receding gums just like humans. In fact, that’s where the popular saying “long in the tooth,” meaning old, comes from. As horses age, their gums recede and expose more of their teeth, making it look like they’re actually growing.
- Narwhal horns are actually teeth. It’s scientific name, Monodon monoceros, comes from the Greek term meaning “one-tooth one-horn”. A narwhal’s horn can grow longer than 8 feet and is used to “taste” the concentrations of chemicals in the water around it in order to find food.
- Blue whales have no teeth. Even though they’re the largest mammals in the world, blue whales only eat tiny shrimp called krill, so they don’t need teeth. Instead, they have bristle-like filters called baleen that comb through the water for food.
- Most animals don’t get cavities because their diets aren’t high in sugar. They also chew on more hard or rough materials than we do, such as bone or tree bark, which help to keep their teeth clean. However, domesticated animals can develop cavities if they eat a lot of sugar, so be sure to keep your pets’ consumption of sweets and other human food to a minimum.
What’s Your Favorite Animal Teeth Trivia?
Do you know an interesting fact about animals’ teeth that’s not on our list? Share it with us in the comments section below!