Most people agree that fish like piranha and sharks ferocious. Many people shiver at the very thought of sharks and the rows of sharp dentition with which they tear into their prey. But very rarely does the conversation about fish with teeth veer towards fish like Oscars. This is because Oscars widely live domestically in many home settings. They hang out in aquariums all over the world where people who keep them as pets. But there is a question that needs to be asked and answered once and for all: Do Oscar fish have teeth?
Oscar fish have teeth. They use their teeth to cut their food and process it before they finally ingest it. They don’t have powerful teeth like sharks or piranhas but they definitely chew and chomp their food with their teeth.
The following paragraphs are going to examine what sorts of teeth the Oscar fish has and what sort of food they chomp with it. We will also answer the question of whether or not the Oscar fish teeth can injure a human being and whether or not Oscars like to bite and attack humans with their teeth.
Table of Contents
What sort of teeth do Oscars have?
Oscars do not just have teeth in their jaws. They also sport some powerful teeth inside their mouth, very close to their throats. These teeth sit proudly at the far back in their mouths. Oscar fish teeth are not as sharp as a razor. They are however shocking enough to scar a human hand if they choose to snap at it. The teeth in their throat are called pharyngeal teeth.
How do Oscars use their teeth?
The set of teeth at the jaws of the Oscar are very small. They are used to grasp food. The fish also uses the teeth to grab holding and pushing them into the Oscars mouth. However, the teeth in the throat process and manipulates prey. It is the more powerful of the two sets of teeth.
The type and arrangement of the teeth is such that they are considered as one of important characteristics of Oscar fish. It is particularly helpful in the systematic process in deciphering the evolution of cichlids and significant study has already been published.
Nearly all species of cichlids, to some extent, have teeth. Some are more prominent than others. This is especially true for the Parchorins genus. The pseudo canines are easily seen in these species. Even herbivores fish amongst them have teeth.
What sort of food do Oscars eat with their teeth?
Oscar fish are herbivores. This means that they survive on a diet of both plants and animals. It is however important to note that they have a bias towards carnivorous diet. Their teeth are useful for the cutting and processing of the variety of food type that they consume. Here is a shortlist of foods that Oscar fish can eat both in the wild and in captivity.
- Small fish
- Small chopped fruits and some vegetables like peas.
All of these and more contribute to the group of foods that form the average Oscar fish diet. The Oscar uses his outer teeth in his jaw to pull the food in and then she uses her inner teeth in her throat to process it and make it ready for digestion.
Are Oscar teeth sharp enough to cause harm?
Well, the teeth do tear into food and holds them in place. It might not be able to process food that is as huge as a human, but it definitely can cause some nasty injury. The outer teeth are designed such that they can tear into food. That is exactly what one should expect of Oscar outer teeth.
Can/Do Oscar fish bite?
Oscar fish can definitely bite. And they are not the only ones. The truth is that most fish have a likelihood to bite. However, this does not mean every fish can deliver severe bite injuries or serious harm. Oscar fish bite isn’t something to be really afraid of as it cannot do any serious damage. Their teeth naturally function as food and prey processor and not really harmful to humans.
They are suction feeders
The Oscar fish cannot bite hard enough to rip skin off. Their teeth remain small and harmless even if they are extremely upset or excited.
This is because Oscars are suction feeders. They open their jaws and suck in their food instead of buying and chewing actively.
The pharyngeal jaws do real chewing and processing of the food. They suck their prey and into mouth. They cannot deliver any injuries as they are no teeth at all. Oscar fish teeth may cause minor abrasions to the skin, but they are highly unlikely to cause anything serious like a cut or tear.
Do Oscar fish eat other fish?
Surely. Oscar fish will eat basically anything that fits into its jaws. This includes smaller fish. Oscar fish are rather large fish and thus it makes sense that they would eat smaller fish. They may not always be successful, but their suction feeding attitude does help them get quite a few fish in the wild. You probably should not add small fish that can fit in an Oscars’ mouth to their tank. This will prevent the Oscars from eating the fish. Especially since you meant the fish to be his friend.
Other uses for the Oscars mouth?
Now that we know that Oscars have teeth and that those teeth okay a major role in their nutrition, it is also important to note that their teeth and mouth are also important to reproduction m Oscars are mouth breeders. This means that they carry their young in their mouth until the fry are old enough to fend for themselves. The teeth at the jaws keep the fry from falling out and the teeth inside the Oscars throat keep the infants from being ingested. Oscar fish use their teeth to protect their young, eat food and provide nutrients for not just themselves but also the fry who must stay within the confines of their parents’ mouths.