Do Pigs Have Teeth? [How Many & What Do They Look Like?]

Do pigs have teeth? And if they do, how many do they have and what do they look like? If you’re not familiar with the pig’s anatomy, you might’ve wondered about these questions. The reason why so many people are unsure whether or not these animals have teeth is because they don’t often show them. But, wonder no more, I’m here to provide the answer.

Today I’m going to cover everything you need to know about pigs and their teeth. I will discuss whether or not they have them in the first place, whether they have baby teeth like us humans, what their teeth look like, and much more.

In a hurry, no worries, here’s the quick answer: All pigs do definitely have teeth. As piglets, they have baby teeth, while as adults they have 44 permanent teeth. They start losing their baby teeth and grow their permanent ones at around 5 months of age. Since piglets are born with “needle teeth” which project from the gums they are often clipped because otherwise, they can harm the other piglets in the litter or the mother.

Do pigs have teeth?

Pigs do have teeth and are even born with them!

When a piglet is born it has sharp incisors, also known as needle teeth, that it uses to fight for the best teat. The best teats are the ones that are located at the front because they provide the most milk. In captivity, these sharp incisors are often clipped because otherwise, they will harm the other piglets in the litter or even the mother. This clipping process is not pleasant for the piglet but unfortunately, it has to be done to prevent harm to the mother and littermates.

Once the pigs are around 5 months old their baby teeth start falling out and their permanent ones start growing in. This process takes a couple of months. At around 8 to 20 months, most pigs will have all their baby teeth replaced with permanent ones.

How many teeth do pigs have?

Piglets have a total of 28 of these aforementioned “needle teeth”, but when pigs are fully grown they have 44 teeth in total. The formula is 3/3, 1/1, 4/4, 3/3. What this means is that they have three incisors, one canine, 4 premolars, and three molars on the left and right, and on the top and bottom of their mouth.

Interestingly enough, pigs also have enamel on their teeth just like humans, which helps prevent disease.

What do pig teeth look like?

Many people have never seen the teeth of a pig. I could give a lengthy description of what their teeth look like but a picture says more than a hundred words so I’ll let the image do the talking. For an idea of what a piglet’s and a grown pig’s teeth look like, take a look at the images below. I’ll start by showing the piglet’s teeth and then move on to those of a fully grown pig.

picture of the piglet's needle teeth
The needle teeth of the piglet – they’re very sharp and require clipping. This image was taken from a video of a 1-day old piglet.

Now, as you can see, their teeth are pretty small and sharp. This makes them a little difficult to see but they’re definitely there!

When they grow older they experience a lot of changes in their mouth. They go from looking like the image above to looking like this:

picture of pig teeth
I decided to use a picture of a skeleton because it gives a better overview of the pig’s teeth.

Pig teeth diagram

To get an even better overview of your the teeth in your pig’s mouth, check out this diagram. It shows all the molars, canines, tusks, and incisors and where they’re located.

a diagram of the teeth of a pig
source: https://petpigs.com/education/farec-forgotten-angels-rescue-education-center/pig-education/know-your-pig-and-its-teeth/

Do you have to cut pig’s teeth?

I’ve already mentioned that baby pigs need to have their needle teeth clipped to avoid hurting their littermates and their mother. This needs to happen as soon as possible after birth, usually within minutes or hours. But should you clip the teeth of adult pigs as well?

The answer to this is that you should only clip the tusks (if you haven’t removed them entirely), not their other teeth. In the wild, pigs sharpen and reduce the size of their tusks by rubbing them against hard surfaces. However, in captivity, it’s better for the owner to do this and keep their tusks at a manageable size. If you do not do this their tusks can become so big that it poses a problem when they’re trying to eat.

Do pigs grow tusks?

Domestic pigs can grow tusks, but only males grow them large enough for them to stick out of their mouths. They usually become visible at 18 months. These tusks are very sharp and are canines  that grow longer than the other teeth. Most owners of pet pigs choose to either trim or remove the tusks entirely.

If they are not trimmed or removed the tusks grow continuously for many years and can become quite long.

Do pigs bite?

Domestic pigs are generally not aggressive animals and do not bite frequently. Nevertheless, it’s not completely unheard of for pigs to bite their owners. This usually happens for one of 2 reasons: fear or a lack of attention and training.

Pigs are usually very friendly but even the friendliest animal can lash out when it’s scared and pigs are no different. To avoid them biting you out of fear you should make sure that you don’t make them feel threatened. That means you shouldn’t shout or hurt your pig. Not only because you don’t want to get bitten, but also because that’s not what a good pet owner does. Pigs are very intelligent animals and can pick up on emotions quite easily.

Secondly, pigs are not only very intelligent but also very social. Because of this, they need a lot of mental stimulation and attention. If they do not get enough attention and stimulation they can become bored and destructive.

The bite of a pig can be very painful because they have strong jaws. On top of that, their tusks and incisors are very sharp and can cause pretty deep wounds. And if that wasn’t enough, they spend a lot of time in the dirt which can easily result in the wounds they give you to become infected.

What do pigs eat?

Just like us, pigs mainly use their teeth for eating. They’re omnivores and grind down food with their molars and tear it with their canines.

Pigs can eat a large variety of different foods and will eat pretty much anything. However, the ideal diet for a pet pig consists of the following foods:

  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Protein
  • Pellets

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