Beaver Teeth: Their Color, Strength, Sharpness, And More!

Beavers have very sharp teeth, which they use primarily for cutting and chewing wood. These teeth are self-sharpening, which is convenient for the beaver. The beaver’s teeth will grow throughout their whole lives. 

Beavers chew on wood and sharp objects to stop their teeth from growing too large and prevent them from growing too far outside their mouths. Wood also helps sharpen their incisor teeth. These sharp teeth are perfect for eating trees like aspen, maple, and willow. They also help with transporting items and fending off predators.

The orange, iron-rich coating on the exterior layer of the beaver’s teeth helps them bite through hard objects like trees. The beaver can chew through trees and chop down branches, which the beaver will use for consumption or habitat modification.

What Do Beavers Use Their Teeth For?

Generally, the main reason beavers use their teeth is to gnaw on wood and eat. Their teeth can grow several feet each year, so they must gnaw on wood to prevent them from protruding out from their heads. 

Iron-coated incisor teeth help the beaver cut through wood easily and accomplish necessary tasks like eating and transporting items. Carrying hard things or large loads is easier with sharp incisors.

A Beaver’s Teeth Helps Them Eat

Most beavers are strict vegetarians who rely on nuts, branches, and other hard vegetation to feed themselves. They use these sharp teeth as portable nutcrackers to crack nuts open. The beaver’s sharp teeth also help them eat many sticks and tree branches throughout their diet. Common parts of the diet include aspen, cottonwood, maple, birch, and willow (among many others). 

The most appealing part of the tree to the beaver is the inner bark of the tree. The beaver will use its sharp teeth to peel past the exterior layer of the tree until it can reach the inner bark. Once they reach the center layer, they will continue eating at the stem. The beaver circles the stem and eats it entirely.

A Beaver’s Teeth Helps Them Transport Things

The beaver’s sharp teeth assist them in transporting many items, such as food, wood, and other things. The beaver uses sharp teeth to latch onto these hard pieces of wood and then carry them to different places.

Wood is one of the main items that these sharp and pointed teeth are great at transporting. Beavers use wood to build dams and bridges. They latch their teeth into the wood and create indentations that help them travel long distances without dropping it when transporting it. 

The beaver is one of the only animals that personalizes its environment to its taste. In addition to constructing its habitat the way it wants, they will also cut down excess wood to store during winter to help keep themselves warm. 

A Beaver’s Teeth Helps Them Chew Through Things

The beaver has very sharp teeth that help them chew through hard things like wood (a large part of their diet). Being capable of chewing through wood is important for the beaver since most of their diet consists of wood. They also make their homes from tree branches.

When a beaver chews on trees, they go in a circular direction around the bottom of the tree. The bottom of the tree becomes stripped of the tree bark. Many people think that the dark tree bark colors the beaver’s teeth yellow.

However, it is the natural iron in their teeth. The girdling of the trees is just a result of how the beavers cope with foraging vegetarian-friendly food with their razor-sharp teeth. 

How Do Beaver Teeth Work?

The beaver has rodent teeth, which are made for chewing on wood. Beavers’ teeth work similarly to other rodent teeth by chewing food, transporting items, and chewing through things. Their teeth work like axes to cut through wood. 

The large rodent’s teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime, with the condition that these teeth are filed down continuously by gnawing and chewing on wood, plastic debris, and other hard objects. The ever-growing teeth of rodents have a very important function, and beavers are no exception to this.

Incisor Teeth Cut Wood

The front of the beaver’s teeth is covered in iron-rich enamel as hard as metal. This enamel helps the beaver’s teeth remain as strong as they chew through hard things like wood. Their incisor enamel is yellow-orange. 

The backs of the beaver’s incisors are covered in dentin. Their teeth curve slightly, making the teeth slope. The sloping shape makes the incisor teeth slice through wood and bark easier, making it easier for the beaver to chop down trees.

Molars And Canines

Molars and canines grind wood down after the incisor teeth cut through them. These teeth are not iron-covered, which can be seen by their white color. Their lack of iron means they do not cut through wood as easily.  They grind wooden chips, making ground chips inside the beaver’s mouth. 

Unlike incisor teeth, these teeth do not require excess gnawing to keep them from growing. 

Why Are Beaver Teeth So Strong?

The beaver’s four front incisor teeth are incredibly strong, often compared to metal. They are strong because of the thick iron-rich coating on the exterior of their teeth. This iron layer is visibly orange and keeps their teeth stronger against mechanical stress than regular mammal teeth. In other words, their teeth remain strong, so they do not break under pressure.

The ability to withstand great pressure helps the beaver chew through hard and thick items like trees and branches. These large rodents are herbivores who use their hard teeth to eat wood and other tough vegetation.

How Do A Beaver’s Teeth Grow?

A beaver’s teeth grow naturally, and according to Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Biology Institute, a beaver’s teeth will never stop growing. If they did not wear their incisors on wood or other hard objects, their teeth would grow four feet yearly. Typically, their teeth do not go further than their mouths.

It is uncommon for a beaver to lose its teeth since they are so solid and resistant to damage. In the rare case that they do break, the teeth will continue to grow back.

What Do Beaver Teeth Mark Look Like?

Beaver teeth marks are long and thick. They usually appear at the base of trees, where they will carve long, thick rings called girdling. Shavings from beaver gnawing are roughly four to five inches long by one inch wide. They will be grouped in piles underneath the tree’s base the beaver is chewing on.

They come off in chunks, which the beaver may eat or leave behind.

Animals With Teeth Like Beavers: Do Other Animals Have Similar Teeth To Beavers?

Beavers are similar to many rodents. As the largest in the rodent family, they have the biggest bite and jaw size. Their teeth make the largest marks. However, many smaller rodents exhibit similar biting habits. They may also have similar biting styles. For instance, the muskrat has very similar teeth to the beaver.

All rodents have long and sharp incisors that continue growing throughout their lifetimes. Beavers might be the largest rodent, but they are generally similar to other rodents.