Squirrels belong to the family Sciuridae. Many squirrels are in the Sciuridae family; the main species of squirrels include tree squirrels, ground squirrels, flying squirrels, and tons of more subspecies of them. But, no matter how many species they have, all squirrel have the same teeth.
It is confirmed that squirrels have teeth, but how do they use them? Or what are the characteristics of their teeth? We all discuss all these queries in this blog. Furthermore, we will also discuss squirrel teeth problems or if they get any teeth diseases or they have dental issues. So let’s start!
How is the Structure of Squirrels Teeth?
The rodents of the Sciuridae family have teeth that are constantly growing. You can also say ever-growing teeth or this condition is also known as elodonts. If we talk about their teeth structure, squirrels have teeth that are covered with a hard enamel layer, and below the enamel, a layer of cementum is present, and below this is a pulp of the tooth.
The structure of the squirrel’s enamel and the cementum look similar to human teeth. Even their molars also look like ours. Also, the roots are identical to human teeth. Though, squirrels’ incisors look different from molars and cheek teeth because they have to grow them very fast to keep them according to their diet.
Under the gumline, the incisor evolves the constantly growing enamel coating that helps squirrels wear incisors for life without losing them.
How Many Teeth Does a Squirrel Have?
Except for eastern gray squirrels, all have 22 teeth; 22 of four are incisors, four are premolars, and 12 are molars. Eastern gray squirrels, instead of having 22 teeth, have 24, with two additional premolars. Squirrels have a delay between their incisors and premolars instead of canine teeth, called diastema. All other rodents have canine teeth, while squirrels don’t because of having diastema.
Parts of a Squirrel’s Teeth:
At the front of the mouth, squirrels have four long and thin incisors. Their incisors must have their best position because they are essential for chewing, and if they are lined up in a poor place, they will grow more. Also, if squirrels’ incisors aren’t set up in a better position, they will rub against each other.
They also have two bottom jaws called mandibles. These mandibles are two separate bones on each side of the jaws. Mean one on each jaw. These mandibles look strange as they are connected with two beneath incisors. Still, they are also helpful for squirrels as they provide them flexibility. In contrast, squirrels do different work, requiring moving their bottom incisors, so the mandibles allow them to move their incisors from one side to another.
Squirrels have 12 molars, and they use their molars for mashing hard food instead of gnawing, as they are not for gnawing. They also have strong jaws and don’t need to worry about it ending because of the layer of enamel on their cheek teeth.
Usually, they have four premolars that look similar to molars. Their premolars are also grouped jointly, like cheek teeth.
So this was the grouping and squirrels’ teeth parts. Though their teeth are aligned as same as humans, their teeth pattern is related to humans. Even their molars are similar to humans.
What Does a Squirrel Use Its Teeth For?
Squirrels use their teeth for different purposes. As they love to gnaw, and it is also their primary activity. To get food, squirrels need to gnaw, which they do with their teeth. Also, the other purpose of their gnawing is to shred things for their bedding. The primary purpose of their teeth is for chewing their food, and there is no need to say that teeth are usually used for chewing food because it’s common in all living organisms.
The other purpose of their teeth is to use their cheek teeth to open or crack hard nuts, shells, and conifer cones.
Why Do Squirrels Have Yellow Teeth?
The most identifiable attribute of squirrels is their front bright yellow teeth. But there is no worry about squirrels’ yellow teeth because their yellow teeth are by the enamel layer. Their upper incisors are darker than the lower ones because the lower incisors’ position is behind the upper incisors, so the enamel ends up quickly and leaves a bright color.
Can Squirrels Have Any Dental Problems?
Squirrels may face dental problems at any age, especially with their incisors. Incredibly, they face dental problems as babies. Because baby squirrels‘ heads are oversized, the danger of falling squirrels may increase. And if they fall from a height, it can break their incisors. If their teeth get bent while growing, it will lead to malocclusion.
Malocclusion and Overgrowth of Teeth
It is the most common dental problem in squirrels. Their teeth get misaligned. It is due to not correctly lined up with them, and they will continue to grow. Or they will lead to the condition called overgrowth of teeth. Because of teeth overgrowth, squirrels will be deprived of food, as they will not be able to eat or chew food. Sometimes they even die.
Many rescue teams are now doing their duty to help these small rodents. They may help squirrels if their teeth are overgrown. The rescue team and professionals will adequately treat the squirrels. For the treatment, they will trim their overgrowth teeth, or if the condition of the teeth is worse, they will extract those teeth. But they can only be treated by professionals, not by you, so if you find any squirrel that needs help, you should call the squirrels rescue team for assistance.
Squirrels may lead to tooth tumors in their upper incisors, called odontomas. This condition may occur due to falling or any injury in their tooth. Although it can be treated as well, if it is not treated on time, it becomes fatal for them.
Yes, squirrels have very sharp teeth that they use for chewing or eating and opening hard food like nuts.
Yes, squirrels can bite you hard, as their teeth constantly grow to deliver a painful bite.
Squirrels are wild rodents and get so many dangerous bacterias in the wild. So they carry many deadly diseases. If they bite you, you can get many dangerous and harmful infections.
Squirrel bites are powerful, as gray squirrels can bite with a force of around 7,000 psi.
Squirrels carry many harmful diseases, including tularemia, typhus, plague, ringworm, and many other infectious diseases.
Well, squirrel teeth structure is almost the same as humans. Even the squirrel’s molars and roots are similar to humans. So it was all about squirrels’ teeth. Another thing to consider is their dental problems, as it was essential to talk about it, so we did.
The important thing is that if you find an injured squirrel lying down and is helpless, you should help it; significantly, if it is injured due to teething, you should call the squirrel’s rescue team. Don’t try to be a doctor yourself; it might hurt them more. In such situations, only professionals can treat them well. Thus, whatever dental problems they have, they will take good care of them.