Wild Animals/what R these, plz?


teeth or claws 1
teeth or claws 1  
tooth or claw 2
tooth or claw 2  
QUESTION: Hi, I'm thrilled to have discovered your site! I've been searching for ANYTHING that would shed some light on these 4 items (teeth?) I've got.

As much as I want to learn the origin of these 'teeth', it's just as crucial that I know what they AREN'T! It's been suggested that they are "Bear Claws"(ouch!). I'm leaning towards a tooth of unknown origin...

Anxiously awaiting an expert opinion!
Thank you in advance.
Attch: 2 photos, size

ANSWER: Dear Sheila,

They are not claws, and definitely not bear claws, which look like this:


They are teeth, as you suspect.  The groove on the inner surface suggests that these are the canines of a carnivore, but what carnivore they might be, I do not know.

Knowing their origin might help narrow things down...but they could be from any number of creatures.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

silver tops
silver tops  

QUESTION: Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge & providing this incredible service!

All I know about the origin of teeth is they came from an antique store.
I wonder if the Sterling Caps that may provide a further clue...?

As seen in the photos, they are etched in what appears to be a Native American design, and seems to be most typical of the Navajo tribe pattern.

What I've learned so far is invaluable,,,any additional details would be phenomenal!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Hi, Sheila

Unfortunately, that doesn't really help narrow things down much.  I can tell you that the yellowish part fitted into the cuff is the root, so only the white part is what emerges from the gums.  From the size, you might be able to make a better guess.

If it's really from the Southwest US, then they could be anything from a cat or dog to a skunk, raccoon, or mustelid (weasel family) of some kind.  Sorry I can't be more specific!


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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I'm an evolutionary biologist with a passion for animals. Ask about natural history, behavior, ecology, evolution. PLEASE NOTE:

If you have found an "orphaned" or injured wild animal or bird:
Please don't waste time asking questions on the internet, as the answers may come too late. DO NOT FEED THE ANIMAL, and DO NOT HANDLE IT unless it is in imminent danger. (Many wild "orphans" are not orphans at all!) If you are absolutely sure it is orphaned, keep it warm and quiet, and find a LICENSED WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR HERE. Don't try to raise a baby yourself, or rehabilitate an injured anmal. Many a well-intentioned rescuer will do more harm than good, especially with baby birds and baby rabbits.

Without geographic location, time of day and habitat, I can't help. A clear picture is always best.

It's impossible for me to I.D. an animal call without hearing it myself.

I'm not an expert on comparative strengths of different animals (more complicated than you might think!) nor bite forces.

I refuse to answer "Which of these two animals--X or X--would win in a fight?".

These hypothetical matchups range from impossible (Grizzly Bears and Gorillas don't even occupy the same continent.) to ridiculous (Someone asked me "Who would win a fight between a Great White Shark and a tiger?").

The vast majority of animals--even the fierce and powerful--are not as warlike as Homo sapiens, and it's childish to project our aggressiveness onto them.


I have been the fortunate caregiver to a group of Black-tailed Jackrabbits rescued from the Miami International Airport, and not releasable in this area because they are not native. I also have rehabbed and released Eastern Cottontails, and am in contact with many very experienced wildlife rescuers who regularly handle injured or orphaned rabbits and hares.

House Rabbit Society

Exotic DVM journal

I have a Ph.D. in Biology, with main areas of expertise in evolutionary biology, genetics, botany, and ecology.

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