How do rodents use their teeth for survival?

When it comes to seeing the display of so many animals in the wild, can you guess which ones have the biggest and toughest teeth? Did you ever wonder what type of teeth makes the best tools for grabbing food, carrying their young, or making their home? Beavers and squirrels use their teeth to grip, to dig, and to eat.

Beavers are called Castor canadensis. And they are one of the largest rodents on Earth. They are expert swimmers and builders. They use their front teeth and their lower body to stand tall to cut trees. At this position, beavers chop up the wood and use it as materials to build dams and their homes.

The use of their teeth allows them to cut down all types of trees like willows or cottonwoods to name a few. Experts believe that beavers have a bite of about 176 pounds per square inch. That’s twice as much as a human’s biting force.


Beavers use their teeth to gather materials to build homes or food storages that may lie underneath lakes or rivers. But the dead wood that is left behind is not wasted. Many animals survive by utilizing the decaying trees and branches as homes and shelters. More amazing is the teeth in beavers grow continuously, replacing the enamel from the hard work of chewing and cutting.

Sciuridae or better known as squirrels also have special teeth that help them survive. Squirrels gather their food and use their teeth as a tool to break nuts and hard shell seeds. Similar to beavers, squirrels also use their front teeth to gather food supplies.

But unlike beavers, they don’t generally use their teeth to cut down trees. Squirrels use their teeth mostly to break open nutshells. Humans throughout the years have domesticated many ground squirrels. The diet of squirrels consists mostly of wild seeds and nuts. However, when food disposal is not properly stored, such as parks or backyards, squirrels tend to eat these instead of natural food.

This could have caused many of these squirrels to eat unhealthy foods. Nowadays, most of these rodents are used to litter garbage cans or other human disposal areas to find other types of foods. This has created a tremendous problem in some suburban areas where squirrels live. Other nuances to neighborhoods are raccoons, sewer rats, and mice.

Common rodents that have similar characteristics to beavers and squirrels are marmots, prairie dogs, chipmunks, and flying squirrels.

As a general rule, people should never feed wildlife, no matter how tempting it may be or how cute the creature could be.

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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