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The Top Five Scariest Animal Teeth
Teeth are amazing, adapted by nearly every member of the animal kingdom into specialized tools to defend, consume and outcompete others. However, some animals possess teeth so frightening or unexpected in their function that they would be better off in a horror movie.
The Bobbit Worm
These three-meter-long ocean terrors create long, vertical tunnels in the sand of the ocean floor and lie in wait with massive jaws set just like a bear trap. When an unsuspecting fish swims by, sensory tentacles home in on the source of the disturbance and the worm lunges. In less than a second, the fish is impaled and yanked into the tunnel to be devoured!
See the Smithsonian Channel's amazing video of the bobbit worm here.
Perhaps not as unsettling as the bobbit worm, the musk deer is none the less in possession of some intimidating dentition: fangs. While not a true deer, this unusual ungulate is native to the mountain forests of southern Asia and defends well-defined territories from competitors, using their sharp fangs to deter predators and rivals.
The Cookiecutter Shark
Don't let the whimsical name fool you. The cookie-cutter shark has one of the most gruesome appetites in the animal kingdom. Hidden beneath a lumpy, rounded snout is a mandible adapted to gouge out round plugs of flesh from its prey like a melon baller or cookie-cutter. These bites can be as wide as two inches and deep as three!
Although appearing as the ever-cute staple of nature documentaries, penguins are packing a frightening secret: multiple rows of sharp, spiny teeth. Don't believe us? Click here. These needle-sharp teeth, along with a thorny tongue help the penguin grip its slippery aquatic prey.
Camel Spider (Solfugid):
Imagine a spider with scissors for a face, long clawed legs, and pale skin studded with tan bristles. It's not a true spider, but it is an arachnid. Solfugids use an unusual double set of vertically-oriented mandibles to shred prey with an odd reciprocating motion reminiscent of a hedge trimmer. While terrifying, these creatures are non-venomous and reluctant to bite humans.
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