How do crocodiles clean their teeth?

Crocodile bird, Plovers


Crocodiles are carnivores (meat eaters). 

  In the wild, Crocodiles feast on fish, birds, frogs, and crustaceans. At the zoo, they eat small animals that have already been killed for them, such as rats, fish or mice.

Crocodiles eat nearly anything accessible to them, all the more especially anything that moves or slithers, swims or flies. There are confirmations where they have been discovered eating sharks, humans, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, and other little crocodiles. All this kind of food can easily stick in their teeth.

Unlike humans they can not brush or floss their teeth, being reptile they can not use their limbs as well to get rid of the trapped food stuck in their teeth and unlike other animals, they are not blessed with a flexible tongue to wipe out the bacterias. Oh, their tongue reminded me one more fact here. Have you ever noticed crocodiles’ tongue?

Do Crocodiles have a tongue?

Some people think that crocodiles don’t have a tongue, which is a myth. They do have tongues but their tongues are not flexible and that is why they are unable to stick out their tongues. They can not use their tongues even in their feeding process. The crocodiles have a membrane that holds their tongue in place on the roof of their mouth. The only way they can move their tongues is by pushing them back and forth, to block their throats (airway).

The tongue is one of the significant differentiating factors between alligators and crocodilesUnlike alligators, crocodiles do not use their tongue to eat food rather they use it for salt regulation and body heat regulation.

So now moving back to the main question?

How do crocodiles clean their teeth?

Crocodiles do not chew their food. They just swallow the entire prey which later breaks into their stomachs. Sometimes while tearing the prey to swallow, the bits of the flesh get stuck in their teeth. All thanks to crocodile birds (Egyptian Plovers) who keep a check on crocodile’s teeth health.

While crocodiles lazing on the shore with their mouths open the “Egyptian plover” flies into the crocodiles’ mouths to pick out the tiny bits of decaying meat stuck in their teeth.

It not only cleans crocodile’s teeth but also fulfills the little birds’ hunger- Symbiotic Relationship.

Do crocodiles eat Egyptian Plovers?

No, they stay in a symbiotic relation called mutualism. In this relationship both animals live in peace because they are getting something out of the relationship.

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