Alligators are known for their vicious mouthful of teeth and tremendous bite force. However, interestingly, locals have spotted an alligator in a Georgia swamp missing nearly all of its not-so-pearly whites.
According to The Telegraph, more than a few toothless gators occupy the state’s Okefenokee Swamp. And while alligators tend to boast between 75 and 80 teeth, several of the swamp’s residents have very few remaining. It’s truly a mystery for wildlife experts. Photos shared by the University of Georgia Coastal Ecology Lab reveal one alligator has just three or four easily visible teeth left in its mouth.
So far, University of Georgia Coastal Ecology Lab experts have two potential explanations for why the alligators lack teeth.
The lab reported, “We hypothesize it is either another effect of the tannic water,” which is water that has been tainted and discolored by rotting vegetation, “or they are not getting enough of a key nutrient in their diet.”
What they don’t suspect as a cause of the dental issue is old age. In speaking to the suggestion, the UGA Coastal Ecology Lab wrote, “We see missing teeth in almost all age classes of alligator so we don’t think its due to old age.”
So far, however, scientists can’t be certain. What they are certain of is that toothless alligators face marginal risk. As we well know, their threatening chompers function as their primary weapon.
Whatever the cause might be though, experts said, “this is a question that we are studying and hope to one day be able to provide you with a definitive answer!”
Georgia Alligators Display Poor Dental Hygiene
While the alligator photographed by the university lab shows the animal missing teeth, experts also revealed that reptiles occupying the Okefenokee Swamp also display signs of poor dental hygiene. And no, that’s not a joke.
As per the outlet, many of the alligators in this particular region of GA have mouthfuls of badly stained teeth. Again, scientists suspect this particular outcome to be a result of the 700-square-mile swamp’s tannic waters.
Fortunately, stained teeth don’t seem to be as much of an issue for American gators as they are for humans. The lab revealed, “Even the hatchlings’ teeth start to turn brown after a couple months.”
A product of the territory more than likely then.
The lab shared another interesting fact about alligator teeth. Apparently, “An alligator replaces its teeth so often that they can go through 3,000 teeth over the course of their life.”
That said, the outlet further acknowledged that an alligator with missing teeth is still a more than skillful predator. The lab reported, “Even with missing teeth alligators are still incredible hunters due to their immense jaw pressure.