Teeth are vitally important tools for every species that has them, but in the mouths of some animals, teeth are downright terrifying. They can be a couple of feet long and razor sharp. And the bigger they are, the faster you’ll run. Read on to meet 10 creatures with huge teeth.
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Fun fact: Alligators possess the second strongest bite on Earth (after their crocodile cousins), and are faced with no predators of their own. Plus, attacks on humans are on the rise. Gators killed more Floridians (12) between 2000 and 2007 than in the '70s, '80s and '90s combined.
Fun fact: Male baribusas’ canine tusks grow continuously throughout their entire lives, curling backward toward their faces. If they don’t grind down their tusks, they would grow to the point of penetrating the animal's skull.
Fun fact: Baboons aren’t natural carnivores, so those huge teeth don’t help the apes hunt and eat meat, as you might have suspected. That doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous, though. Baboon males use their teeth to fight each other in vicious competition for baboon females.
Unfun fact: For hundreds of years, elephants have been hunted and killed for their tusks, which are enlarged incisor teeth made of ivory. The practice continues today. Despite a dip in elephant poaching due to international efforts in the early 1990s, the barbaric practice has experienced an alarming surge in recent years.
Fun fact: Hippo teeth can reach nearly 2 feet in length, backed by the most powerful bite of any land mammal. And despite their meatless diet, it takes little provocation for hippos to attack humans. Hippos kill more people in Africa than any other animal.
Fun fact: A lion’s jaws are essential for taking down prey. When a lion attacks a wildebeest or buffalo, it clamps its jaws down on its victims throat, crushing the trachea. Once the prey is dead from suffocation, the pride feasts.
Fun fact: Have you ever seen a saber-toothed deer before? Musk deer are the only members of the taxonomic family Moschidae. Unlike true deer, musk deer do not grow antlers. But they make up for that with those cool, freaky canine tusks.
Fun fact: In fish, any teeth at all are “huge teeth.” The deeply unsettling sheepshead not only has teeth that look remarkably like a human’s, but it has rows and rows of them. These fish possess distinct incisors and molars, which allow them to consume a diverse, omnivorous diet.
Fun fact: Both male and female walruses possess large canine tusks, and they use them in a variety of ways. Their tusks serve as tools for breaking ice or as weapons used in territorial and mating competition. Walruses even use their tusks to haul themselves out of the water.
Next: The Most Powerful Bites in the Animal Kingdom
Fun fact: The warthog’s tusks are unusual in the way the upper tusks protrude from the snout to form a semicircle. The shorter lower tusks rub against the upper tusks every time the warthog opens and closes its mouth. This makes the lower tusks razor sharp.