Last updated on February 5th, 2022
Sitting in a dentist’s waiting room awaiting your turn can prove to be quite tiresome. But my last visit to the dentist was different.
Not that I did not get the treatment that I wanted, but I discovered that my dentist is quite an interesting fellow. Being an ardent animal lover myself, I was quick to notice that there were several magazines on wildlife conservation in his waiting room.
As we began to talk, I discovered that he was pretty knowledgeable about animals, and he spoke to me about animals, their teeth, and their role in evolution. I found that there are several animals with long teeth, and some of these are as follows:
Animals with long teeth:
- Sabertooth cats
- Musk deer
- Payara fish
Horses are unique animals that are not just known for their speed but their special dental features.
The teeth of a horse never stop growing in its lifetime, making it necessary for the animal to grind down its teeth.
Despite all of its efforts compared to other animals, the horse’s teeth are more extended, especially when you compare it to other members of the Equidae family.
One of the reasons why horses have long teeth is because they are herbivores, and their primary diet consists of grass and hay.
Therefore, they need sharp and long teeth to grind down and break apart the grass in their mouth which allows for smoother digestion.
To make this easier, horses have long and sharp incisors to pinch the grass and sharp side teeth to help them chew the grass.
Donkeys have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. The first set of teeth is called the “milk or baby teeth” which are replaced by adult teeth after the first set of teeth falls out.
These teeth are sharp and quite long to help the donkey chew the grass. Unlike a horse, a donkey pulls out the grass with the help of its lips.
But it surely does need to use its teeth to cut the grass into smaller bits. If you have observed the teeth of a donkey closely, you will find that they are pretty big compared to its face.
Lions are apex hunters and carnivores. Evolution has helped them adapt to become excellent predators.
Nature has designed the lion in such a manner that it is endowed with sharp claws, teeth, and superior strength.
The canine teeth are the longest in the mouth of a lion and they use these teeth to sink into the meat of prey and tear it.
The lion needs to have long teeth that are different from other predators because the creature often hunts much larger animals than its size.
The canine teeth are necessary for them to bring down the prey and then shred its flesh. This is why in any picture of a lion, you will find two prominent canines.
8. Sabertooth Cats
Although extinct, the sabertooth cat was one such creature that was easily distinguished by its two frontal canines.
Moreover, the teeth of the sabertooth cat would help the creature to easily bite into the flesh of its prey.
When a predator bites into its prey, its jaw, and its skull have to withstand the resistance. The resistance is offered by the flesh and bones of the prey.
But the sabertooth cat has a softer skull. Therefore, its protruding frontal teeth would help the cat tear the meat into smaller parts, especially from the less bony parts of the prey’s body, making it easier for the sabertooth cat to consume and digest.
If you have ever seen a picture of a warthog, you can easily distinguish it with the help of its two frontal canines protruding from the side of its mouth.
This often looks like a pair of tusks, but these are canine teeth, and the warthog uses it for several purposes.
One of the primary uses of the protruding canine teeth is to help the warthog dig and find food.
You will often find a warthog sniffing for food and then trying to dig. It can dig easily with the help of its tusks.
A warthog also uses its tusks as a weapon when locked in a battle with another warthog. These canine teeth can prove quite dangerous as they can pierce into the body of another warthog quite easily.
The warthog also uses the same canine teeth to defend itself from predators. Thus, the protruding canine teeth of the warthog serve several purposes, from helping it dig, fight other warthogs and defend itself when threatened.
6. Musk deer
The fanged deer, also known as the musk deer, is distinguished by its two frontal fangs hanging out of its mouth.
The musk deer’s fangs are a weapon used to protect its territory from other musk deer. The fangs are only found in the male musk deer.
It is the upper canine teeth of the musk deer that protrude downward. It does not help the deer with its food, but it only works as a defensive and offensive mechanism.
Musk deer are incredibly territorial, and when they fear any encroachment, they are quick to defend their territory.
It is only then that they use their long canine teeth or fangs to protect their habitat from intruders.
The teeth of rabbits grow throughout their life. In fact, in a year, the teeth of a rabbit can grow three to five inches long.
You might have seen the adorable frontal teeth of a rabbit. However, the teeth of a rabbit need to be burred, especially if it is a pet rabbit. The front teeth of the rabbit helps the creature in biting and chewing its food.
The chewing of hard food helps the rabbit to reduce the length of its teeth. In the wild, rabbits chew on stalks and sticks, and other complex substances to reduce the size of their teeth.
The long teeth are a part of the evolution and help rabbits cut and eat their food, usually consisting of grass and vegetables.
Its two frontal protruding tusks can easily distinguish a Babirusa. These are the frontal teeth of the male Babirusa.
If you closely observe the animal, you will see that the tusks are curved, and if the male Babirusa does not grind down its tusks, it can grow into a significantly lengthy curve.
It has been found that if the male Babirusa does not grind its upper tusks, it will eventually penetrate its skull. The tusks do not serve any purpose related to eating or chewing.
Instead, it is used as a weapon when a male Babirusa enters into a battle with another male Babirusa.
The upper tusks of the Babirusa are used as a defensive weapon, while the lower tusks are used as offensive weapons.
Capybaras are grass eaters, and they are known to consume immense amounts of grass in a day. To cut off the grass from the root, the creature needs to have long and sharp teeth.
Capybaras have sharp teeth that allow them to tear the grass from the root. It also uses its sharp teeth to tear off the water plants during the dry season.
An adult capybara eats nearly 2.7 to 3.8 kilograms of food per day. Therefore, it needs to have sharp teeth to chew the grass.
Capybaras belong to the rodent family, which means their teeth grow throughout their lives.
This means they need to grind down the length of their teeth to prevent them from becoming overgrown.
2. Payara Fish
The Payara fish is a freshwater fish closely related to the Piranha. Although locals introduced this fish to the Amazon, it soon naturalized and became a common fish found in the river.
The Payara can be easily recognized by the two frontal teeth that extend out of its mouth. These two teeth can grow up to six inches in length and form this marine animal’s most unique feature.
The Payara’s formidable appearance is enhanced by its size that can go up to one meter while also weighing eighteen pounds.
The size and appearance of the fish make it ideal for game and angling. In many parts of the world, the Payara is considered an exotic fish for its unique teeth.
The Hippopotamus is one of the largest land animals. It is not only known for its massive physical appearance but also for its huge teeth.
If you have ever observed a hippo’s teeth, you will find that four massive incisors protrude out its upper and lower jaws.
Like a human being, hippos have incisors, canines, molars, and premolars. The canine and incisor teeth of this land mammal continually grow throughout its lifetime.
Hippos are omnivores which means they can consume both plant and animal-based food.
The creature needs to have strong teeth to help it to mash its food since this animal is also known for crushing and eating watermelons.
Not only does the long teeth of the hippo help it to chew its food but it also acts as a defense mechanism.
Hippos are pretty aggressive, and they need long teeth to protect themselves against the attack of other hippos and other threats.
The animals with long teeth are hippos, payara fishes, capybaras, babirusas, horses, donkeys, lions, sabertooth cats, warthogs, musk deer, and rabbits.