16 Animals with Fangs

Photo: M Rose / Shutterstock

Fangs are an essential weapon for many animals, with most species using them for hunting and feeding. These massive teeth can serve as sharp stabbing tools, but also as venom injectors.

In this article, we’ll be learning about animals with fangs!

  • Constrictor snakes
  • Venomous snakes
  • Spiders
  • Bats
  • Hippos
  • Bears
  • Tigers
  • Baboons
  • Wolves
  • Lions
  • Vampire tetras
  • Jaguars
  • Water deer
  • Crocodiles
  • Opossums
  • Red foxes

1. Constrictor Snakes

Photo: Juny Perez / Shutterstock

Scientific name (superfamily): Booidae

These nonvenomous snakes have large fangs, but unlike venomous snakes, they’re not hollow and no venom can move through them. Instead, their fangs are made to grab onto prey and hold onto it.

This is crucial for hunting, as the fangs need to be strong enough to hold the prey in place for the snake to coil around it and choke it to death. 

Interestingly, even though the owners of these fangs are the heaviest (green anaconda) and longest (reticulated python) snakes in the world, they actually have short fangs.

2. Venomous Snakes

Photo: Kevin Wells / Shutterstock

Scientific name (families): Elapidae, Viperidae, Atractaspididae, and Colubridae

Venomous snakes have venom glands and hollow fangs through which they inject their venom. This makes them extremely dangerous to other animals, and much more efficient killers than non-venomous snakes.

They usually have two very long, thin fangs to inject their venom with, and smaller fangs that help with swallowing prey. 

The Gaboon viper has the longest snake fangs, capable of growing up to 2 inches.

3. Spiders

Photo: Ken Griffiths / Shutterstock

Scientific name (order): Araneae

Spider fangs are generally venomous, but there are a few families that have lost their venom glands and they use their fangs just to pin their prey down. Just like snake fangs, these fangs are hollow so venom could flow through.

Spiders also have the innate ability to pull their fangs inwards when they’re not using them, making them one of the very few animals with retractable fangs

The longest spider fangs belong to a Sydney funnel-web spider, and they’re almost an inch long. Even though their fangs aren’t as long as some snake fangs, they’re incredibly large in regard to how small spiders are.

See also  14 Animals with Big Foreheads

4. Bats

Photo: Frank Martins / Shutterstock

Scientific name (order): Chiroptera

There are bats that have as many as 38 teeth, with fruit-eating bats having very sharp fangs. 

Vampire bats, contrary to their name, don’t have very large fangs. They are, however, so sharp, that even handling a tooth in a museum could result in a cut.

Fruit bats are one of the few herbivores with fangs, which are needed to break the hard fruit skin. Since most bats are omnivores or carnivores, they need large and strong teeth to kill and chew their prey.

5. Hippos

Photo: Amanda / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Hippopotamus amphibius

Hippos have the largest herbivore fangs, but there is some debate as to whether their teeth are actually fangs. 

Fangs are, by definition, sharp, elongated teeth. Hippo canines definitely fit that definition, as they can be as long as a foot and 8 inches!

However, since they don’t use them to hunt, they’re not really used in the traditional way fangs are used. 

Their only purpose is combat and defense from predators. Their teeth are also very sharp, as they grind against one another all the time.

6. Bears

Photo: moorathenight / Shutterstock

Scientific name (family): Ursidae

Bears are massive animals with massive teeth, regularly using them for killing and dismembering prey, as well as fighting. 

Their fangs aren’t as nearly as large, with respect to their size, like the fangs of some other animals on this list.

Despite their small size, bear teeth, in combination with their extremely strong jaws, are more than capable of killing other bears. The polar bear has the largest bear teeth of all, even though they aren’t the largest of all bear species.

7. Tigers

Photo: Pixabay / Pexels

Scientific name: Panthera tigris

Tigers have the longest cat fangs and some of the longest fangs out of all animals, growing up to 4 inches in length. Since they’re carnivores, their massive teeth are needed to take down prey and chew it.

They easily kill wild boars, Indian leopards, crocodiles, Asian black bears, and even Indian rhinos. Given how thick the skulls of some of those animals are, tiger fangs have to be exceptionally long and strong to pierce them.

Tigers generally aim for the throat to kill, but they’re capable of biting through bone.

See also  Are Hippos Faster Than Horses? [No! But They Are Fast]

8. Baboons

Photo: Prashanth Bala / Shutterstock

Scientific name (genus): Papio

Something that sets baboons apart from other primates are their sharp, long fangs – they’re the only primates with fangs. On top of that, their jaws are very powerful, ensuring a strong bite.

They don’t only use their teeth for eating and defense, but also for intimidation. When threatened, large males will show their massive teeth. Leopards have been documented to back down after this intimidation technique.

They present this same method of intimidation when fighting for females. Their fangs can grow up to 2 inches in length, which is the same as gorilla teeth. 

However, gorillas are massive primates, and in comparison, their teeth aren’t that large.

9. Wolves

Gray Husky Wolf
Photo: Egor Kamelev / Pexels

Scientific name: Canis lupus

Wolf fangs can grow up to 2.5 inches, enabling them to deliver a bite force of over 400 pounds per square inch. This is more than enough to break skulls and chew through bones.

All wolf teeth are large, but more importantly, they’re heavy, which makes them capable of crushing bone (something that other canids usually can’t do). Wolves hunt in packs, and their prey usually faces more than a single pair of fangs.

10. Lions

Photo: Shawn Levin / Shutterstock

Scientific name: Panthera leo

Lion fangs are slightly shorter than those of a tiger, regularly reaching 3 inches. Just like tigers, these animals kill by ripping the throat open, but they usually hunt in packs, unlike tigers, which are solitary animals.

Interestingly, they use their large teeth for many facial expressions, among others, growling and threatening other animals

Just like other big cats, lions can bite through bone. However, they do not have the most powerful bite of all big cats.

11. Vampire Tetras

Photo: Dan Olsen / Shutterstock

Scientific name (family): Cynodontidae

These fish are known for being the only fish with fangs! They have easily visible canines which they use for hunting. Vampire tetras mostly feed on other fish.

A few species in this family can reach great sizes, up to 3 feet, with their fangs surpassing 2 inches in these particularly large specimens. They’re often added to fish tanks with other large, aggressive fish, as they see smaller fish as prey.

12. Jaguars

Photo: Tambako the Jaguar / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Panthera onca

See also  Do Camels Eat Snakes? (Are They Poisonous?)

Another species from the big cat family, jaguars are apex predators in their respective environment – they have no natural threats. They hold this status because of their insanely powerful bite!

Jaguars have the most powerful bite out of all big cats, with respect to their size, with a bite force quotient of 137

It hunts by stalking prey and literally biting into its head. Jaguars were documented to pierce the temporal bones of a capybara on several occasions.

They’re also capable of killing tapirs and cracking open turtle shells with this same method, proving just how strong their fangs are and how powerful their bite is.

13. Water Deer

Photo: M Rose / Shutterstock

Scientific name: Hydropotes inermis

Believe it or not, deer with fangs do exist! This species has a pair of fangs protruding from its upper jaw, ranging from 2.2 to 3.1 inches. 

Even though they’re herbivores and don’t eat meat, they’ll use them in defense and when competing for females.

Because of these odd teeth, they’re sometimes called vampire deer. These deer are only found in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

14. Crocodiles

Photo: Luc Legay / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name (family): Crocodylidae

The mouth of any crocodile species is a nightmare to many, as they’re essentially just endless rows of long, sharp teeth. Interestingly, crocodiles can replace all 80 of their teeth up to 50 times throughout their lifetime.

Just like with most animals on this list, crocodile fangs are crucial for their survival. Their teeth have evolved to be very sharp, built for piercing and holding onto prey. 

After grabbing prey, they start twisting in the water to disorient and kill their prey.

They can’t tear flesh off very well, but they can pierce and hold on very well. Crocodilians have the strongest bite force out of all animals. 

A bite of a Nile crocodile once measured 22,000 Newton, making it stronger than that of the largest ever recorded great white shark!

15. Opossums

Photo: Ilan Ejzykowicz / Shutterstock

Scientific name: Didelphidae

Often seen as a pest, opossums are quiet marsupials as well as opportunistic omnivores. They feed on virtually anything they can find, and are particularly attracted by carcasses and carrion. 

With fangs that can grow up to 0.3 inches in size, these mammals can easily tear meat off bones. Opossums rarely kill prey, but they could go after insects and rodents.

16. Red Foxes

Red Fox
Photo: Irene Steeves / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Vulpes Vulpes

These small animals with fangs are our final entry for this list. Even though they’re very small for a canine species, their teeth are impressively large for an animal their size.

Just like wolves, they bite their prey to death, and their teeth and jaws are strong enough to bite through bone.

James Ball

James has had a lifelong passion for animals and nature, tracing back to his childhood where he first began fostering intimate knowledge and connection with pet frogs and snakes. He has since honed this interest into a career as a trained Wildlife Biologist, specializing in Biogeography, sustainability and conservation. In addition to his professional pursuits, James maintains an active lifestyle, regularly indulging in outdoor activities such as hiking, and musical pursuits like playing piano and swimming.

Recent Posts