Can You Identify All of These Toothless Animals?

ANIMALS

By: Elizabeth Lavis

6 Min Quiz

What scaly relative of the anteater lives predominantly in Asia?

These scale-covered mammals are indigenous to much of Asia and parts of Africa. Despite their armored appearance, they are coveted as pets and sadly, sold on much of the black market.

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Which insect gets a massive makeover (but still doesn't grow teeth)?

Caterpillars are one of the great transformers of the animal kingdom. These marvelous creatures disappear into their cocoons and emerge as gorgeous butterflies after five to 21 days. If only they could actually grow teeth!

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It's a diminutive bird that appears on the menu in certain parts of the world. What is it?

Quail are a staple of old-style French cuisine, although the gamey taste doesn't appeal much to modern palates. These little birds have a huge vocal range and its more likely that you'll see one than hear it!

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What unique creature totally "fits the bill" for being toothless?

This toothless wonder is also the only living creature to represent its family and genus, although there have been platypus-adjacent fossils found. That makes it totally unique in the modern world!

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Which bright and graceful bird pictured here is indigenous to tropical climates?

Flamingos get their beautiful hue from the copious amounts of shrimp that they eat, but they don't chew them up with their teeth! Instead, the bill of the flamingo acts like a giant, deadly tooth for scooping up their prey.

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You don't have to worry about the teeth, but watch out for its pointy back end! What animal is this?

You don't want to find one of these toothless venomous arthropods lurking in your shoe! On the plus side, scorpion venom usually can't kill a healthy human. It will just hurt a whole lot.

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Flocks of these congregate everywhere, but their squawk is bigger than their bite! What are they?

Geese can be intimidating, especially when they're between you and your car! Although these massive birds have no teeth, they do have serrated beaks, so a peck can still break your skin.

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Which ancient aquatic animal has no teeth, but a razor-sharp protective beak?

Most sea urchins are toothless, although there are some varieties that have one or two. Instead, they have something called "Aristotle's lantern"; a sharp beak that grinds food to smithereens.

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What adorable toothless creature is a relative of the sloth?

Anteaters have no teeth. Instead, they slurp up their favorite insect snacks with large snouts and very long tongues. They generally eat up to 35,000 ants and termites every single day!

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It's a fabulously graceful marine animal that has no teeth or stomach. What is it?

Seahorses have no teeth or stomachs, so they have to eat constantly. Without teeth, their diet is limited to tiny fish, plankton and other organisms that they can slurp up with their snout.

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Which scavenger rips up its food without teeth?

Vultures are some of the most famous scavengers in the world, but they do all of their opportunistic feasting without teeth. Instead, they have sharp beaks and talons to tear apart their meals.

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What famous armored animal has almost no teeth?

Armadillos are famous for curling up into a little ball when they're scared, and their scales give them a cute and almost friendly appearance. Don't get too comfy though! Some armadillos actually carry leprosy.

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A fabled wise bird, this smarty-pants has no teeth. What animal is it?

Owls are portrayed in folklore and stories as being one of the wisest creatures on the planet, but they still don't have any teeth. These nocturnal birds use their beaks to hunt prey.

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Which toothless insect can grow to massive sizes in tropical climates?

Most varieties of beetles don't have teeth. Instead, they have sturdy mandibles that are used to chew food and can inflict a sharp rebuke to any unlucky humans who cross or surprise them.

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What expert hunter catches prey without any teeth?

Falcons don't have teeth, but they do have a razor-sharp beak that can catch and tear apart prey. Getting pecked by a falcon is not fun, so people who handle these birds wear thick gloves.

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This sweet insect has not evolved to have teeth. What is it?

Bees are notorious for their potent stings, but they don't have any teeth. Instead, they have hard mandibles for chewing and a long proboscis to suck up sweet nectar from flowers.

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Which shelled crustacean doesn't have the option of using teeth to chew its food?

No crabs have teeth, but some have harder mandibles than others with which to grind up their food. Some crabs even have feather-like mouthparts. That doesn't seem too evolutionarily sound!

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It's known for its colorful plumage, but this bird has no teeth. What is it?

Peacocks are known as nature's show-offs. These beautiful birds have jewel-toned feathers that they fluff out when they want to attract a mate since they can't use their winning smiles.

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Which animal likes to swallow its food whole, warts and all?

Unlike their amphibious frog cousins, toads don't actually have any teeth. Both types of animals swallow their food whole, but most types of frogs have a small ridge of teeth on the tops of their mouths.

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What arctic dwellers might have happy feet, but have no teeth?

Penguins are one of the most beloved birds in the world. In addition to being featured in folklore and pop culture, these toothless cuties are just plain adorable when they waddle over rocks.

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These pesky insects might be bothersome, but most can't bite you. What are they?

No flies have teeth, but certain types have sharp mouthparts that act a lot like teeth. Deer and horseflies can break the skin, and an encounter with one is almost certainly painful.

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Fortunately, they don't need to remember to go to the dentist. What are they?

Whether or not goldfish have no memory is debatable in the scientific community and we certainly can't ask them. What we do know is that these cherished pets do not have any teeth.

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Which big African bird might look intimidating, but actually has no teeth?

Ostriches may not have teeth, but they certainly can pose a threat to humans. These flightless birds can run fast, are highly aggressive, and have sharp talons that could do a number on you.

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What lucky red and black beetle doesn't use teeth to chew its food?

Ladybugs are the most beautiful of all of the beetles. With their red and black spotted shells, these pretty, toothless insects are considered to be good luck in many parts of the world.

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Which majestic sea creature uses the equivalent of giant combs to suck in its food?

Most whales don't have teeth, and the baleen whale is no exception. Instead of chompers, this animal has the equivalent of giant combs that hang down from its mouth, the better to suck in food.

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It's a dining room delicacy, but it doesn't have teeth itself. What is it?

Lobsters don't have teeth as we do, but they do have something that resembles teeth. Deep within their stomach is a terrifying sounding "gastric mill" that processes all of their food.

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What saltwater-loving shelled creature is also totally toothless?

Like most turtles, sea turtles don't have any teeth. Instead, they have a tough beak to defend them against predators and help catch prey. In green sea turtles, this beak is serrated.

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Their quack is bigger than their bite! What toothless water dwellers are we talking about?

Ducks don't have teeth, but they do have a serrated portion of their bill that acts as a defense mechanism and can help them ingest their food. If threatened, ducks will attack humans.

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What delicacy from the deep sea doesn't have any teeth?

Oysters don't have any teeth, but they do have socket-type pouches that look like they were made for teeth. Remarkably, other types of shellfish can sometimes have teeth, but oysters lost the evolutionary lottery.

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Which farm animal isn't technically toothless, but uses a tough pad to chew through food?

Lambs technically have teeth, but they are all congregated in the backs of their mouths. They are born with eight "milk teeth," but use the hard mandible on the front of their mouths to chew.

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What spiny specimen chews food in its stomach, instead of using teeth?

Starfish don't have teeth, but they do have plenty of spines that they will use for defensive purposes if threatened. Starfish take the direct route and eat with their stomachs; no teeth required!

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It's a creepy-crawly with absolutely no teeth. What is it?

Centipedes don't have teeth, but some of them do have front legs that they can fashion into fangs. In certain parts of the world, centipedes are venomous and can be very dangerous to humans and pets.

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What national American symbol has no teeth to speak of?

Eagles are known as the all-American bird, but these majestic creatures don't have any teeth. Instead, they have a large, hooked bill that they use for both defense and finding prey.

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Which large, graceful, completely toothless creature skims the water?

Swans dine on algae, small fish and worms, and they do so with style, grace and no teeth. Their bills are serrated, so they can inflict a sharp semblance of a bite if confronted.

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What terrifying insects can nick you with their mandibles, but don't actually have teeth?

It's a common myth that wasps have teeth because these are one of the only insects that can hurt you from both the front and back ends of their bodies, but they don't. They have hard mandibles that act like teeth.

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What mouthy bird is a common, toothless pet?

Parrots are known to mimic the words of their owners, and many are cherished pets all over the world, but these loquacious birds actually have no teeth. Instead, they have sharp beaks.

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Which tiny fish has no teeth in its mouth, but does have teeth-like features in its throat?

Minnows technically have teeth deep in their throats, which makes them unique in the world of aquatic creatures. They suck their food down and grind it up once it reaches their gullets.

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What big-beaked bird doesn't have a single tooth?

Toucans are famous for their stunning plumage and massive beaks. Since they have no teeth, they've developed an ingenious method of eating large pieces of fruit by tossing them in the air and smashing them on their beaks.

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They have four functioning stomachs but almost no teeth! What animals are we talking about?

Cows are famous for chewing their cud, but they don't do it with teeth! These animals have a hard plate that allows them to grind grass into mush. Technically, they do have a few back incisors, but they're totally toothless in the front!

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We don't know why it crossed the road, but we do know that it's totally toothless! What is it?

Chicken is a menu favorite all over the world, and many people have a few feisty hens and roosters running around on their farms. These toothless birds eat by pecking with their beaks.

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Image: Morten Falch Sortland / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The world is a wonderful place full of incredible creatures!

There are animals big and small, feathered and flightless, who live in the depths of the ocean or soar far above the mountaintops. Although we think that teeth are completely necessary to get by in this world, there are many fellow creatures who would disagree with us. They get by being toothless just fine! Whether it's an evolutionary hiccup or simply a new way of consuming food and defending themselves, there are plenty of creatures who don't have a single tooth in their heads.

Some will surprise you. There are apex predators on this list; dangerous animals that you wouldn't want to be within 50 yards of. These spectacular creatures use their wits, talons and sometimes hard mandibles that mimic teeth in order to fend off predators and hunt effectively. What's more, some of them probably do it just as well or better than their toothy counterparts.

If you think that you have a keen eye for the natural world and a deep understanding of the animal kingdom, prepare to have your smarts tested with this tough and unique quiz that showcases all of our tooth-free friends in the animal kingdom. 



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