WTF Fun Fact 12991 – Squirrel Front Teeth Never Stop Growing

Squirrel front teeth never stop growing. Once their teeth grow in, the front four can grow up to five inches a year to keep up with all that gnawing they do on nuts and seeds.

The ever-growing teeth of squirrels

Rodents, including squirrels, have elodents – aka teeth that don’t develop roots and continue to grow long. These teeth can also appear dark yellow or orange because of the extremely thick enamel that covers them.

To be more precise, squirrel incisors have an enamel coating that starts below the gumline. This is what grows constantly up and over the teeth. This enables squirrels to wear down their incisors for their whole lives without losing their teeth.

Squirrels also have molars and premolars with roots, similar to human teeth.

If a squirrel does not have the right diet, it’s teeth will grow too large for its mouth and it can die from starvation. That’s why it’s never a good idea to feed squirrels other types of food.

The development of squirrel teeth

Baby squirrels are born without teeth, and their first teeth don’t erupt until they’re a few weeks old.

Adult squirrels develop 22 teeth (except the Eastern gray squirrel, which has 24) – 4 incisors, 4 premolars, and 12 molars.

The long incisors at the front of their mouths are used for gnawing at food, shredding material to make their nests, and for self-defense. While squirrels are not aggressive creatures, they can bite humans if they feel threatened (and they do carry disease).

In some unfortunate cases, baby squirrels may fall out of trees (this happens because their heads are quite large compared to their bodies). If they fall and break an incisor, it can grow back crooked. When this happens, the teeth rub up against each other and grow into one another. This can lead to life-threatening issues.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Teeth issues in squirrels” — Squirrel Refuge

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