Tigers have fewer teeth than other carnivores such as dogs (42 teeth) with only 30 teeth. All cats have deciduous (temporary) teeth that come in within a week or two after birth and are referred to as milk teeth similar to humans’ baby teeth. The milk teeth are eventually replaced by the permanent ones. Therefore they are seldom without a set of teeth. Tigers have the largest canines of all big cat species ranging in size from 6.4 to 7.6 centimetres (2.5 to 3.0 in) in length. The canines have abundant pressure-sensing nerves that enable the tiger to identify the location needed to sever the neck of its prey. Back teeth of tigers are called carnassials which enable them to shear meat from their prey like knife blades. They swallow large-sheared pieces of meat whole. These big cats are capable of penetrating deeply into their prey because of the large gap between the carnassials (back teeth) and the canines hold prey tightly. The small incisors located in the front of the mouth (between the two top and bottom canines) facilitate the predator to pick off meat and feathers from their prey. Tiger’s tongue is covered with numerous small, sharp, rear-facing projections called papillae which give the tongue rough, rasping texture and is designed to help strip feathers, fur and meat from prey, especially from bones.

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