A Closer Look at Animals with the Biggest Teeth in the Animal Kingdom

Let us embark on a fascinating journey, venturing deep into the literally jaw-dropping realm of the animal kingdom. We’ll encounter species with the largest teeth in the world and examine the impressive lengths and uses of their significant dentition. From the sharp, fence-like teeth of the great white shark to the hefty tusks of elephants, the animal kingdom never ceases to amaze with its toothy wonders.

Which Animal Has the Longest Teeth in the World?

Exploring the Diversity of the Animal Kingdom

A closer view of the sunning American Crocodile living in the pond
Matthew Jolley / Adobe Stock

The animal kingdom boasts an array of creatures with impressively large teeth. There are mammals with enormous canines, fish with needle-like teeth, and even mollusks with rows of sharp, tiny grin. In this remarkable biodiversity, discovering the animal with the biggest teeth proves an exciting exploration.

Defining teeth: From Canines to Incisors

Intense close-up of a growling tigers face.

Before we delve into which animal possesses the most massive teeth, it’s essential to understand what constitutes as a tooth. Dentists define teeth as calcified structures within the mouths of many vertebrates. These are classified into different types like incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. The term teeth encompass both regular teeth and special teeth like tusks and fangs—a distinct feature of elephants and some species of crocodiles.

Which Animals Have Big Teeth?

A heartwarming scene featuring a close-knit group of young elephants in their natural habitat, exhibiting playful behavior and familial bonds.

A range of examples exist from the largest teeth in the animal kingdom. A sperm whale boasts teeth that can reach up to 1.5 feet in length, while the African elephant’s, a land mammal with the largest teeth, tusks can extend up to an impressive 10 feet long. One can also be in awe with the huge teeth of a hippopotamus, which can grow up to 1.8 feet long.

Unraveling the Mystery of Elephant Tusks

The African Elephant: Harboring 2-Feet Long Tusks

African elephant walking towards camera

African elephants make a significant claim in having the largest teeth in the world. They bear remarkably long tooth—in particular, a pair of impressive tusks. These feats of dental architecture, made of ivory, can extend to a phenomenal length of 2 feet in mature males and are used for a variety of tasks including digging for water or minerals and to assist in the uprooting of vegetation.

Difference Between Tusks and Normal Teeth

Ranger looking after an elephant
Madiba.de African Inspiration / Unsplash

Regular teeth and tusks differ significantly. A tusk is an elongated, continuously growing front tooth seen in certain mammal species. This variety allows animals with large teeth, such as the African elephant, to use their tusks for tasks such as combat and foraging for food.

The Role of Ivory in Elephants

Elephant walking towards camera

An essential component of an elephant tusk is ivory. Besides providing the structures with their iconic, polished sheen, ivory constitutes a sturdy, robust material that allows these large teeth to withstand the test of time and rigor of use.

The Amazing Dental Setup of Sharks

The Great White Shark: A Mammal with a Fierce Set of Teeth

Ocean shark bottom view from below
LuckyStep / Shutterstock

Stepping into the waters, the great white shark, one of the ocean’s most fearsome predators, is known for its fierce set of teeth. Punk rockers would be envious of this fish’s mohawk of a mouth, each tooth a serrated dagger, continuously replaced throughout its lifetime.

Comparing Teeth Size: Great White Vs Other Sharks

A majestic image of a Great White Shark gliding through crystal-clear ocean waters, showcasing its powerful presence and streamlined body.
Photo by Oleksandr Sushko on Unsplash

Among other shark species, the great white undoubtedly boasts the largest teeth. Each tooth can reach up to 3 inches in length, a sharp contrast with the smaller bite of their cousins.

Understanding Shark’s Jaw Structure

Up-close face and teeth of a shark
Steve Douglas / Adobe Stock

A significant factor in the great white’s biting prowess is its jaw structure. Unlike a static set of teeth, this mammal’s mouth and teeth operate on a conveyor belt system. As one tooth falls out, another quickly takes its place, ensuring the shark never loses its biting ability.

Exploring Other Animals with Long Tooth: From Walruses to Crocodiles

How Walruses Use Their Long Tusks

Walruses, with their impressive long tusks, employ them for various essential purposes. These elongated canine teeth serve as versatile tools, aiding in hauling their massive bodies onto ice floes, breaking breathing holes in the ice, and engaging in social communication and dominance displays within their tightly-knit groups.
Joel Garlich-Miller, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Walruses offer a different take on the use of jaw-dropping dentation. Walruses use their long tusks, which can grow up to 3 feet in length, for combat and dominance displays. But these large teeth also act as ice picks, helping the animals haul themselves out of the chilly polar waters.

The Crocodile and its Powerful Jaw

Huge mouth of a crocodile
leonbasson / Pixabay

Turning back to land, the crocodile depart from the tusked and fanged species with the largest teeth. Crocodiles are equipped with a set of teeth that jut out from their jaws, the upper and lower sets interlocking when the creature clamps its mouth shut. The crocodile’s toothy count can exceed 60.

The Giant Fangs of The Saltwater Crocodile and Alligator

Big crocodile with an open mouth
Thomas Couillard / Unplash

Both the saltwater crocodile and alligator are known for their massive teeth. While the alligator sports large teeth designed mainly for crushing prey, the saltwater crocodile displays an impressive set of sharp teeth designed for holding and tearing flesh.

Diving into the Marine World: Whales’ Teeth and More

The Sperm Whale and Narwhal: Owners of the Sea’s Biggest Teeth

Immerse yourself in the underwater realm as you explore the Sperm Whale and Narwhal, two remarkable marine creatures boasting the sea's most formidable teeth.
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The sea’s largest teeth are undoubtedly the sperm whale and narwhal. A sperm whale’s tooth can reach up to 8 inches in length, while a male narwhal features a striking left canine that grows straight and spiraled into a 10 foot long tooth.

Viperfish’s Teeth: A Unique Feature in the Depths of the Sea

Delve into the mysterious depths of the ocean with a glimpse of the Viperfish's extraordinary teeth, a unique feature that sets it apart in the underwater realm.
NOAA Okeanos Explorer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Viperfish, living in the abyssal depths, possess long, needle-like teeth and a hinged lower jaw, a truly unique feature amongst the animal kingdom. These teeth can extend beyond their heads, serving as the perfect tools for capturing and devouring prey.

The Hippopotamus and Its Large Set of Teeth


The hippopotamus, a large land mammal, flaunts a massive set of teeth designed for combat rather than chewing. These teeth can grow up to 20 inches long, making them one of the animals with the biggest teeth, a sight both awe-inspiring and intimidating.

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