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12 Funny Animals With Human Teeth (With Pictures)

12 Funny Animals With Human Teeth (With Pictures)

How would you describe human teeth? Well, like most animals, our teeth are adapted to our diet and lifestyle, so humans are omnivores, diphyodonts, and heterodonts…What??

It’s actually pretty simple!

We eat both plants and animals, so are omnivorous. We have 2 sets of teeth in our lifetime, and so are diphyodonts. We are heterodonts, so have more than one type of tooth: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars.

Now, you may have heard stories of fishermen claiming to have been bitten by some creatures with human teeth, leaving sporting bite marks that look like they had been left by human jaws.

Even for animal lovers, there are few things more disturbing than the idea of an animal with a human-like smile, but in some ways, there are plenty of them!

From fish to horses, human-like teeth occur in a number of species all across the world.

Buckle up because we’re going to talk about a few animals with human teeth!

List of Animals With Human Teeth

Sheepshead Fish (Archosargus Probatocephalus)

sheepshead fish with black stripes on its body

Number of Teeth: 32
Diet: Omnivore

Found along North and South American coasts, the Sheepshead fish is known for its disturbingly human-like teeth. These silver and black striped fish can grow up to 35 inches long and weigh up to 21lb.

They have a row of incisors at the front of the mouth, which are almost identical to a human’s. Behind these, they have 2 rows of molars on the bottom jaw and 3 on the top.

Their teeth start growing by the time the fish is just 2 inches long and are used for crushing the mollusks and shellfish, which make up the bulk of their diet.

The Sheepshead fish is omnivorous though and will consume just about anything it can get its teeth around, including over 100 species of plants, fish, and worms. Apart from shellfish, which it eats all the time, Sheepshead fish tends to prefer fish in the spring, plants in the summer, and worms in the autumn and winter.

Scientists believe they play an important role in maintaining the delicate balance in their ecosystem’s biodiversity. Apparently, they are also rather delicious themselves, but watch out for those teeth if you’re fishing them!

Pig (Sus Domesticus)

big gray pig laying on green grass

Number of Teeth: 44
Diet: Omnivore

Like humans, pigs are omnivorous and have very flexible diets. They are natural foragers, feeding on grasses, fruits, nuts, and leaves, but will also eat insects or any animal (dead or alive) small enough to fit in their mouths.

Of course, pigs are domesticated, so their diets are often moderated by humans, but their teeth are similar to their wild cousins.

Pigs are actually born with “needle teeth”, which are as sharp as they sound and believed to be used in competition with their siblings for their mother’s milk. For this reason, many pig farmers clip them short when the piglets are very young.

Like humans, pigs are diphyodonts, with a set of milk teeth that fall out at around 8 months old. These are replaced with 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 12 molars.

However, unlike humans, a pig’s canines are very long and sharp and are sometimes used in fighting. In wild pigs, teeth continue to grow throughout their life and can even curve back into their head!

Dog (Canis Familiaris)

black and white dog with its jaw open

Number of Teeth: 42
Diet: Omnivore

A man’s best friends are our next animals with teeth like humans. Dogs come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but their teeth are all pretty much the same, with 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 10 molars.

Puppies have 28 (very sharp!) milk teeth, which they lose by the time they are 7 months old.

Though they are omnivores, like us, dogs are also predators and prefer meat. For this reason, their teeth are a lot pointier than a human’s, and the canines are much longer. These canines are perfect for grabbing and tearing into prey and are also used in displays of aggression.

Like human teeth, dog teeth are made up of layers, hard enamel on the outside, then dentin, and soft pulp in the middle.

Giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis)

 brown giraffe sticking its head inside a bus

Number of Teeth: 32
Diet: Herbivore

Giraffes are instantly recognizable for their extremely long necks, but not much is ever said about their teeth! They have the same number of teeth as humans, although most of them are at the back of their mouths.

The incisors at the front are similar in shape to ours, although they only have them on the bottom jaw. The front of their top jaw is completely empty (which is why it’s considered impolite to ask a giraffe to smile when you’re taking its picture).

They actually use their lips and 21-inch tongue to pick leaves, fruit, and buds off tall trees, and their molars to do the chewing. They also have ridges along the roof of their mouths, which help guide the food to the back teeth and throat.

Their favorite food is leaves from thorny Acacia trees, and their tough mouths are perfectly well adapted to chewing up these prickly meals, which is just as well, as they can eat over 100 pounds of leaves a day!

Read Also: Animals With Tails

Horse (Equus Ferus Caballus)

one brown and one white horse

Number of Teeth: 44
Diet: Herbivore

Like most animals here, horses are heterodonts, meaning they have differently shaped teeth for different purposes. They have 12 human-like incisors at the front of their mouths, which they use to cut the grass they eat.

The rest of the horse’s teeth, molars at the back of their mouths, are used for chewing and grinding their food.

They also have powerful jaws and large jaw muscles used for grazing. In the wild, horses spend between 16 and 20 hours a day eating grass!

Interestingly, some horses, mostly stallions, also have pointed canines and/or “wolf teeth”. While these teeth are of no use to modern horses, they are generally believed to be an evolutionary hangover from ancestral horses and would have helped them eat twigs and brush.

Bonobo (Pan Paniscus)

a little bonobo in the wild

Number of Teeth: 32
Diet: Frugivore

Speaking of ancestors, it shouldn’t be surprising that one of our closest living relatives is also on this list of animals with human-like teeth.

The Bonobo, which is only found in remote areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is considered an omnivorous frugivore. This means it mostly eats fruit but will supplement its diet with insects, eggs, and small mammals too.

Like humans, they are both diphyodonts and heterodonts and have 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, and 8 molars, which they use in a similar way.

The incisors are used for cutting food, canines are used for tearing tough food like meat, premolars, and molars for chewing and grinding.

Bonobos also use their teeth to communicate, rather like we do. For example, they sometimes bare their canines as a sign of aggression to other bonobos.

Related: Animals With Flippers

Chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes)

chimpanzee baring its teeth

Number of Teeth: 32
Diet: Herbivore

Along with bonobos, the chimpanzee is one of our two closest relatives, sharing over 98% of our DNA. The two groups are even more closely related to each other, with 99.6% identical DNA.

However, somewhere in that 0.4%, there are some notable differences.

For one thing, chimpanzees are known to be considerably more aggressive than bonobos and have notably longer canines. This is related to the fact that they not only use their canines for eating, but also for fighting.

They have been known to attack and eat other primates, even including other chimpanzees and gorillas.

Most troops of chimpanzees have similar diets to their peaceful bonobo cousins. Although some troops are known to prefer meat and can eat up to 2.5 ounces in a single day.

Western Gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla)

big gorilla showing its teeth

Number of Teeth: 32
Diet: Omnivore

Another of our close cousin animals that have human-like teeth is the gorilla. The massive apes can grow to well over 500 lb and are considered the strongest gorilla species.

They also have very strong jaws and teeth, with razor-sharp fangs, which can grow to over 2 inches!

These animals with long fangs are known to have one of the most powerful bites of all animals in the world. With a biting force of 1,300 PSI, these teeth can crush a bowling ball like it is a ballon.

Despite this, they are considered gentle giants and rarely exhibit aggression, unless they feel threatened.

They are also usually herbivores, though they sometimes eat insects, with leaves and foliage making up most of their diet. So why the long canines?

Well, they are primarily used for stripping the bark of trees so that the gorillas can get to the nutritious parts underneath.

Males also use them in dominance displays, or to scare off any potential threats to their families. If necessary, these powerful teeth are pretty useful in a fight, too.

Moose (Alces Alces)

brown moose yawning

Number of Teeth: 32
Diet: Herbivore

The moose is the largest member of the deer family, growing up to 1500 lb and 10 feet in length, and is found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

Like the giraffe, these large herbivores lack upper incisors. So they only have 6 in total, along with 2 canines, all on the lower jaw. They use their prehensile lips to grab their food.

Moose mostly eat fresh shoots from trees and aquatic and terrestrial plants. They are ruminants, which means they spend a large amount of time grazing, and actually regurgitate food from one of their four stomachs after it has fermented a little in order to chew it again (nice!).

This means 24 molars and premolars are tough and capable of A LOT of chewing!

Cow (Bos Taurus)

colored cow with human-like teeth

Number of Teeth: 32
Diet: Herbivore

Just like the giraffe and moose, cows have 32 teeth, none of which are located in the front of the upper jaw. They are also ruminants, spending much of their time chewing.

Interestingly, these hoofed animals need to chew their food sideways, grinding their molars in a circular motion.

This is because of the horizontal ridges, which run along their molars and makes them look a little comical while they’re eating!

They, too, are herbivorous diphyodonts and eat mainly grass. On average, cows eat about 2 percent of their body weight, which is around 25 lbs every day.

Skunk (Mephitis Mephitis)

black and white skunk

Number of Teeth: 34
Diet: Omnivore

You may take offense at being compared to a skunk, but their teeth really aren’t that different from ours!

They are heterodont, with 12 incisors, 4 canines, 12 premolars, and 6 molars. The babies also have a set of milk teeth, which they lose in their first couple of months.

The main difference between skunk teeth and human teeth is their shape.

Skunks have incredibly sharp teeth and comparatively prominent canines, perfect for slicing through meat. They eat whatever they can, from plants to small mammals and birds, to insects and carrion.

These creatures are known to be quite fearless, sometimes even aggressive, and use their impressive teeth to fend off predators and other skunks.

Pacu (Colossoma Macropomum)

Number of Teeth: 32
Diet: Omnivore

The last member on our list of animals with human teeth is the pacu. Native to South America, the pacu is infamous for its role in some fishing horror stories, one which has earned it a terrifying nickname (Google it at your own risk!).

While its guilt is only alleged, it is true that its incredibly strong jaws and teeth, eerily like those of a human, are more than capable of causing injury.

These piranha relatives can grow up to 4 feet long, and weigh up to 90 pounds! But, unlike their scary cousins, they mostly eat plants (and the occasional unfortunate fish), using their powerful jaws to crush nuts and fruit that fall into the rivers where they live.

Despite the injury claims, pacus are considered harmless to humans, and some people even keep them as pets!

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Sources:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/running-ponies/the-sheepshead-fish-has-human-teeth-but-its-okay-because-it-wont-give-you-a-psychedelic-crisis/

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/sheepshead-fish-human-teeth-plucked-north-carolina-coast-180978396/

https://everywherewild.com/pacu-fish/

https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/how-many-teeth-do-dogs-have-and-can-they-lose-them

https://thehorse.com/118149/equine-wolf-teeth/

https://a-z-animals.com/blog/giraffe-teeth/

https://gf.nd.gov/sites/default/files/publications/aging-moose.pdf

https://www.americastoothfairy.org/news/fun-facts-about-animal-teeth

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/150207-animals-gorillas-elephants-teeth-science-dentistry

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