Facts About Squirrrel Teeth

While many people are familiar of these bushy-tailed animals, there are some interesting facts about squirrels that you may not be aware of. Squirrels are rodents that belong to the family Sciuridae. Other animals in this family are chipmunks, prairie dogs and woodchucks.

Here are some facts about squirrel teeth:
Squirrels have four teeth in the front of their mouth that constantly grow throughout their lives. This ensures that their teeth don't wear down to nubs from gnawing on nuts and other objects. And with all the gnawing they do, it is important that squirrels’ teeth don’t get ground down. That is why squirrels (and all rodents) have teeth that grow continuously. If a rodent is not given the opportunity to chew, their teeth can continue growing until they cannot eat! A squirrel will also dig a hole and cover it up, all the while holding a nut in its teeth and not depositing it. The squirrel sometimes repeats this behavior several times.

The front of a gray squirrel’s incisors is tinted orange with harder enamel than on the softer, white back. Uneven wear on the incisors creates an effective cutting edge that allows the squirrel to pierce nuts and other food.

There are basically three major types of squirrels based on habitats; the ground , flying and tree squirrels. While the ground squirrels burrow for food and hibernation, they have a teeth structure that is quite stronger than tree squirrels. Ground squirrels are mostly found in Europe, Indonesia, Malaysia and some parts of Africa. Though flying squirrels don’t actually fly, but they have a body structure that allows them hop from one tree to another easily. Fly squirrels also have very long and sharp teeth but their teeth are not as sharp as the ground squirrels. Squirrels do possess 4 large incisors that are always growing throughout their lifetime, and for that reason, squirrels will always chew on things, including tree barks , just to wear down the pressure on their teeth. Aside the 4 main incisor, squirrels are also known to possess 8 molars that they can use in the grinding of foods such as nuts and seeds. Aside the sharp teeth, squirrels do have sharp paws that allow them to pounce on their prey and tear them with ease.

Squirrels use their teeth for a variety of functions, including gnawing, defense, and as sensory organs. Yes, sensory organs. Squirrels have amazingly fine control of their teeth, and use them to probe new and unfamiliar objects. They can sense texture, hardness, density, and even temperature with their teeth. They are capable of exerting a feather’s weight of pressure or chomping down with enough power to cut all the way to bone, and everything in between.

Squirrels require a specific diet, vitamins, and minerals to be healthy. They must have plenty of items to chew on, or their teeth will overgrow and cause health problems.

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