Blue Sky Science: Why Would Chipmunks, Squirrels, Rabbits And Beavers Have Precisely The Identical Type Of Teeth?

Q Why do chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels and beavers have precisely the identical kind of teeth?

— Cora Wieneke, Mount Horeb, Wis..

A Erin Flynn, conservation education curator in Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wis.:

Squirrels, beavers, chipmunks and rabbits all have similarly shaped teeth since most those animals have teeth which continually grow throughout their lives.

The same as your fingernails grow continuously throughout your lifetime — you need to clip and record them to keep them strong and healthy — these creatures should weigh a whole lot to keep their teeth sharp and nice.

They will need to take care of and keep their teeth so they do not grow too much. Your teeth need to be able to fit in their mouth in order that they can keep ingesting.

Chipmunks beavers and squirrels are all in the rodent family. Rodents are generally omnivores, which means that they could eat a small bit of what. Rabbits, on the other hand, are vegetarian (herbivores).

Some rodents are far more specialized, like beavers. They have those big teeth which are really ideal for chewing gum down the trees that they use to create dams, their houses.

A wonderful rule of thumb using critters is that form follows function. When you take a close look at the body and teeth of an animal, you can generally determine which sort of habitat that they live in and what they eat.

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Sharp canine teeth, like you would see on a cat or dog, is normally a indication of a predator. Generalized teeth could be a indication of an omnivore. With something like a beaver which has such powerful teeth prominently at front, it is almost always a good bet that it’s a chewer.