Most turtles🐢 have a varied diet that includes meat, vegetables, and fruits. So this gives rise to thinking, how do they bite all this hard food? Do turtles have teeth? o How many teeth do turtles have? We have investigated all these doubts. Keep reading and find out all this in the easiest way!
It seems that many extinct turtles such as the Millerettidae, Acleistorhinus, lanthanosuchids, nycteroletorids, and the first procolofonoids had rather impressive teeth. While some prehistoric turtles had teeth, no modern turtle has real teeth.
Do Turtles Have Teeth Or Beaks?
All living turtles today have very sharp beaks with which they can bite. The young emerge from their eggs using what is commonly known as the egg-tooth or the caruncle. It is located in the front of the upper jaw and usually disappears a few months after the turtle hatches.
Turtles have no teeth. Instead, they have horny beaks, very similar to those of birds. Carnivorous turtles have a sharp, hooked beak that they can use to kill their prey. Vegetarian turtles have wide, flat beaks to crush and macerate plants.
Baby Turtle Tooth
The closest of all turtles to having teeth are babies. Although they do not have too many teeth and are not made of the same material as most teeth, they are still some type of teeth.
So baby turtles are born with an egg tooth. It’s called that because all turtles are born with one, and use it to break the eggshell, so they can get out. After that, it disappears in no time.
If Turtles Have No Teeth, are Their Bites Dangerous?
When we talk about how powerful and dangerous a turtle’s bite is, we have to look at the factors that influence the bite. There are many species of turtles, and they are very different, even individuals of the same species can be very different, so it will be useless to talk directly about the species, instead, we will see the following things: Diet and size.
If you want to know if a turtle bite will be powerful or not, the first thing you want to know is whether you eat meat or not. As we have already mentioned, turtles that eat meat have sharper beaks that can be much more dangerous than those that are not.
Size is also a very important factor, the larger the turtle the more muscles it will have, the larger the beaks will be, so the bite will grow in power along with the turtle.
Absence Of Scientific Data
At the moment there is no scientific data available on the bite force of a turtle. Although no reliable information could be found on the power of a turtle’s bite, there is information based on the experience of the caretakers.
In general, turtle bites are not so severe, but the amount of pain you will feel depends on the area that was bitten. The most common places where you can be bitten by a turtle are your fingers and toes. Fingers can be accidentally bitten when you feed them by hand. And if you keep your turtles in an outdoor enclosure and walk through it with slippers on, you can expect to be bitten thinking that your toes are food.
When your fingers are bitten by a box turtle you will not feel much pain or any discomfort, the bite of a box turtle is not so powerful. You will feel a little pain, but not too much. You can probably expect your skin to turn red for a few minutes, but that’s it.
If a box turtle bites your toe, then you will feel the same amount of pain you would feel if you hit your toe with a table, and the pain disappears just as quickly. Sometimes you can leave some bruises, but they should probably disappear in a few hours or in a couple of days in the worst case.
The Mouths Of The Turtles
Research has found that based on where they live, and what turtles eat, they can have different types of mouths, and some of them may seem quite scary. But before going into that, let’s look more closely at how turtles chew their food if they don’t have teeth.
How Do Turtles Eat If They Don’t Have Teeth?
Turtles can cut food with their beaks. First, as we now know, despite their ability to bite when they feel danger, turtles have no teeth but a beak. It grows continuously like our nails and is made of bones like its shell.
By eating hard food, the turtle makes its edge sharper and more useful for possible protection or feeding. Thanks to its powerful beak and jaw, the turtle can cut the food into small pieces and then swallow it without chewing it. Thus, some species can pinch and cut violently, even without teeth.
Mouths Of Carnivorous Turtles
Carnivorous turtles will have a diet that consists mainly of meat, so they will need a beak that is capable of piercing the skin and breaking pieces of meat. And as a result, most carnivorous turtles evolved to have sharp and sharp beaks.
Mouths Of Herbivorous Turtles
Herbivorous turtles have a diet that is mainly based on plant matter, so they eat many fruits, vegetables, and vegetation. And as a result, they do not need sharp peaks, but a stronger and flatter beak that can cut most plants. Some herbivorous turtles even have small crests on their beaks, which help them in cutting plants.
Mouths Of The Omnivorous Turtles
The omnivorous turtles eat both meat and plants, so they will need a beak that is capable of doing a good job in any situation. So basically they have a combination of the two previous types.
Sea Turtle Mouths
Another type of mouth that is particularly interesting, are the mouths of sea turtles. Although there are 7 different species of sea turtles, some of them, especially the leatherback turtle, can have really scary mouths, like the one in this photo.
Do sea turtles have teeth? Leatherback turtles are the largest consumers of jellyfish in the world. And as we all know that jellyfish can sting, imagine what would happen to a sea turtle if it ate one. That’s why they have those thorns that are scary, to protect themselves from jellyfish stings, but they are not considered teeth.
Although this photo may seem really scary, this does not change the fact that leatherback turtles are one of the fundamental species of this world.
Turtles are among the animals that do not have teeth and who raffle this deficiency using a sharp beak, and as is the case of the lute that eats jellyfish, with many spines adapted to its mouth. Some mouths of these reptiles can be really creepy.