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Fox Teeth – Everything You Need To Know

Animals in the wild require their teeth in prime condition always. They rely on their teeth to procure food either through hunting or grazing and they also use them to fend off potential predators.

It’s worth taking a closer look at a foxes’ teeth given their place in the natural hierarchy and their diverse diet.

You may also learn about some interesting habits by looking at a fox’s teeth and mouth.

 

Fox Teeth

Foxes start with 28 teeth as cubs and end up with 42 teeth total as adults. Because they are omnivores, foxes have a set of teeth that include features native to both herbivores and carnivores. Instead of fangs, foxes have elongated canines that they use for hunting and when defending themselves.

Fox Teeth: Everything You Need To Know
Fox Teeth: Everything You Need To Know

 

How Many Teeth Do Foxes Have

All foxes rely heavily on their teeth for survival. You can tell that cubs are not fit to fend for themselves just yet because their teeth are not fully developed.

A cub’s baby teeth will gradually emerge over the course of several weeks. During this time, they are very dependent on their parents for sustenance.

Fox cubs still have to wait for several weeks for their teeth to emerge
Fox cubs still have to wait for several weeks for their teeth to emerge

Eventually, a cub will grow out their set of 28 baby teeth.

Foxes end up with additional teeth as they reach maturity. They will have 42 teeth in total as adults.

These animals have 10 molars and 16 premolars. Both the premolars and molars are primarily used for grinding and chewing the meat that foxes eat.

Read more about what foxes eat.

The molars and premolars of the fox help it grind and chew on the meat it eats
The molars and premolars of the fox help it grind and chew on the meat it eats

They also have 12 incisors. Foxes rely on their incisors to cut meat and plants they consume into more manageable chunks.

Foxes eat plants such as berries. You can read more about what berries foxes eat here.

Lastly, adult foxes also have 4 canines.

The canines allow foxes to tear through connective tissue and other tough pieces of meat. Foxes also use their canines to land killing blows on their prey.

 

How Fox Teeth Look Like

The best way to describe how a fox’s teeth look is that they look quite varied.

Right away, the long canines will grab your attention. They tell you immediately that those teeth belong to a predator.

The long canines of the fox will immediately tell you that they're predators
The long canines of the fox will immediately tell you that they’re predators

Upon taking a closer look, you will also see teeth that look like they are more suited for chewing up vegetation as opposed to killing.

Foxes have teeth like that because of their eating habits. They need different types of teeth so they can process whichever food sources are readily available.

 

Do Foxes Have Fangs?

Some of the top predators in the animal kingdom wield fangs. Notable examples of those predators include lions, snakes, and sharks.

Lions, sharks, and snakes are known to have fangs
Lions, sharks, and snakes are known to have fangs

Since foxes are also famous for being predators, it’s easy to assume that they similarly rely on fangs while hunting. However, these animals actually lack that particular dental feature.

Those sharp teeth that foxes possess are not fangs. They are elongated canines.

Although they are technically considered canines, foxes still use them like fangs. These animals rely on those elongated canines to hunt efficiently.

Foxes rely on their elongated canines when they're hunting for food
Foxes rely on their elongated canines when they’re hunting for food

Foxes use those long canines to tear vital organs and render their prey helpless. A single bite with those canines firmly buried can be enough to kill a small animal.

Foxes use their elongated canines to tear through their prey's vital organs
Foxes use their elongated canines to tear through their prey’s vital organs

 

What Foxes Use Their Teeth For

Teeth are essential survival tools for all wild animals. That remains the case for foxes.

Foxes use their teeth to secure food. They will tear through vegetables with their strong teeth and also use them to kill their favorite prey.

Foxes use their teeth to munch on vegetables as well as tear through prey meat
Foxes use their teeth to munch on vegetables as well as tear through prey meat

A fox will also use its teeth to process food. As you can imagine, chewing through bones can be difficult so having strong teeth is a necessity for them.

Fox teeth are not just offensive tools. These cunning creatures also use their teeth to defend themselves.

Large animals such as bears and mountain lions will feed on foxes so they need to defend themselves somehow.

Bears and mountain lions prey on foxes, hence the need for foxes to have sharp teeth
Bears and mountain lions prey on foxes, hence the need for foxes to have sharp teeth

If foxes cannot escape immediately, they will bite and claw at their predator in a bid to survive.

 

Why Foxes Open Their Mouths

Folks who like to watch nature documentaries may have seen foxes opening their mouths while facing one another. It’s an odd habit and one that may have piqued their curiosity.

In many instances, foxes will open their mouths like that as a display of their aggression. It essentially means that they are gearing up to fight.

A violent encounter may immediately follow that display.

However, foxes don’t always open their mouths because they want to fight. In this article published by Wildlife Online, canid behaviorist Marc Bekoff notes that foxes may also open their mouths in that manner while playing.

Foxes open their mouths both when they're playing and when they're fighting
Foxes open their mouths both when they’re playing and when they’re fighting

You’ll be able to tell if the foxes are fighting or not based on the intensity of their bites.

Flat ears and curved tails are also indicators that the foxes are playing around.

Flat ears and curved tails on foxes mean they're having a fun time playing with each other
Flat ears and curved tails on foxes mean they’re having a fun time playing with each other

 

Fun Facts about Fox Teeth

  • Foxes don’t have the muscles necessary to bare their teeth whenever they want.
  • Cubs cannot open carcasses using only their teeth.
  • Many foxes suffer from the condition known as periodontitis.
  • A fox’s teeth structure closely resembles the ones that belong to dogs and wolves.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Fox Teeth

 

Do Foxes’ Teeth Fall Out?

Cubs will gradually lose their baby teeth as they grow older. Adult foxes may also have their teeth fall out due to diseases or injuries.

 

What Should You Do When A Fox Bites You?

If a fox bites you, wash the wound with water and soap. After thoroughly washing the wound, head straight to the hospital to get examined.


 

Conclusion About Fox Teeth

Foxes use their 42 adult teeth to kill their prey, process meat and cut through plants. They also rely on their teeth to defend themselves against would-be predators. Their elongated canines are especially useful for dealing with harmful attacks. You may also see foxes with their mouths and teeth exposed whenever they are fighting or playing with one another.