Do Lizards Have Teeth

Lizards are fascinating creatures that have been around for millions of years. They belong to the class Reptilia and are known for their scaly skin, four legs, and long tails. One of the most interesting aspects of lizards is their teeth. Many people wonder if lizards have teeth and what they look like.

The answer is yes, lizards do have teeth, but they are not like human teeth. Lizard teeth are adapted to their specific diet and lifestyle. Some lizards have sharp teeth for tearing flesh, while others have flat teeth for grinding plant material. The shape and size of their teeth can vary greatly depending on the species and their feeding habits.

In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of lizard teeth. We will look at the different types of teeth that lizards have, how they use them, and what makes them unique. Whether you are a lizard enthusiast or just curious about these amazing creatures, this article will provide you with a better understanding of their teeth and how they play a vital role in their survival.

Overall, teeth are an important part of the anatomy of lizards, and they play a critical role in their feeding behavior and survival in the wild.

Types of Lizard Teeth

Lizards have teeth that come in two main types: acrodont and pleurodont teeth. These types differ in the way they attach to the jawbone and the shape of the teeth.

Acrodont Teeth

Acrodont teeth are superficially fused to the tooth-bearing bone usually at the biting edges of the maxilla and mandibles. Lizards that have acrodont teeth include chameleons, frilled dragons, and bearded dragons. These teeth are not deeply embedded in the jawbone, and they are usually not replaced throughout the lizard’s life. The teeth are thin and flat, and they are not well-suited for crushing or grinding food. Instead, they are used for grasping and holding prey.

Pleurodont Teeth

The other type of lizard teeth is pleurodont teeth. The teeth of iguanas and other pleurodonts attach to their jawbone. Pleurodont teeth are flat and wide with ridges along their edges that help them hold onto their prey while they eat it. Lizards have four types of teeth: two on the upper jaw and two on the lower. These are caniniform, incisiform, premaxillary, and maxillary. All these teeth are peg-like with the caniniform being the largest and most tooth-like. Pleurodont teeth are replaced throughout the lizard’s life, and they are typically sharper and more pointed than acrodont teeth.

Functions of Lizard Teeth

Lizards have teeth that serve various functions, including prey capture, self-defense, and social behavior. In this section, we will explore each of these functions in detail.

Prey Capture

Lizards use their teeth to capture and hold onto their prey. The sharp, pointed teeth of most lizards are designed to grasp and puncture the skin of their prey, making it easier to hold onto and consume. Lizards also use their teeth to crush and grind their food, making it easier to swallow and digest.

Some lizards have specialized teeth that are adapted to their particular diet. For example, herbivorous lizards have flat, serrated teeth that are designed to grind plant material, while carnivorous lizards have sharp, pointed teeth that are designed to tear flesh.


Lizards also use their teeth for self-defense. When threatened, some lizards will open their mouths wide and display their teeth as a warning to potential predators. If the predator persists, the lizard may bite and use its teeth to defend itself.

Some lizards even have venomous teeth that they use to subdue their prey or defend themselves against predators. For example, the Gila monster has venomous teeth that it uses to immobilize its prey, while the Komodo dragon has venomous saliva that it uses to weaken its prey.

Social Behavior

Lizards also use their teeth for social behavior. Male lizards may use their teeth to hold onto the female’s head or neck during mating. Some lizards may also use their teeth to establish dominance over other lizards or to defend their territory.

Overall, the teeth of lizards serve a variety of functions that are essential to their survival. Whether capturing prey, defending themselves, or engaging in social behavior, the teeth of lizards are a crucial part of their anatomy.

Types of Lizards That Have Teeth

While most lizards are toothless, there are a few species that have teeth. These teeth are primarily used for gripping prey and for defense against predators. Here are some of the types of lizards that have teeth:

Lizard TypeTeeth Type
Gila MonsterAcrodont Teeth
Beaded LizardAcrodont Teeth
Green IguanaPleurodont Teeth
Monitor LizardPleurodont Teeth
AnolePleurodont Teeth
BasiliskPleurodont Teeth
ChuckwallaPleurodont Teeth

The Gila Monster and the Beaded Lizard are two examples of lizards that have acrodont teeth. These teeth attach to the top of the jawbone and are primarily used for gripping prey. The Green Iguana, Monitor Lizard, Anole, Basilisk, and Chuckwalla are examples of lizards that have pleurodont teeth. These teeth attach to the side of the jawbone and are mainly used for cutting and tearing food.

It’s important to note that while some lizards have teeth, they vary in shape and function. For example, the teeth of Komodo Dragons are curved and serrated like scalpel blades, which allow them to easily penetrate the leg muscles of full-grown water buffaloes. However, not all lizards have teeth, and some are completely toothless, such as the Glass Lizard.

Types of Lizards That Don’t Have Teeth

While many lizards do have teeth, there are some species that have evolved to live without them. These lizards have adapted to survive on a diet that does not require the use of teeth, and have developed alternative methods of catching and consuming their prey. Here are some examples of lizards that do not have teeth:

Anteaters: Anteaters are known for their long, sticky tongues that they use to catch ants and termites. They do not have teeth, but instead have a specialized tongue and mouth that allows them to consume their prey without the need for biting or chewing.

Geckos: While many geckos do have teeth, some species have evolved to have no teeth at all. These geckos have adapted to a diet of soft-bodied insects and other small invertebrates that they can swallow whole, without the need for chewing.

Glass Lizards: Glass lizards are a type of legless lizard that are found in North America. They do not have teeth, but instead have a specialized jaw structure that allows them to swallow their prey whole. They primarily feed on small rodents, insects, and other invertebrates.

While these lizards may not have teeth, they have adapted in other ways to help them survive in their environments. By using specialized tongues, jaws, and other adaptations, they are able to catch and consume their prey without the need for teeth.

How Many Teeth Do Lizards Have?

Lizards have a varying number of teeth depending on the species. Most lizards have sharp, pointed teeth that are used for catching and gripping prey. The number of teeth increases as lizards grow from as low as 32-60, and the number of teeth varies from one lizard species to another. In an ocellated lizard, the number of teeth in its mouth increases as it begins to grow into an adult from a neonate. The teeth of some large predators are conical and slightly recurved. The Komodo dragon, for example, has serrated teeth that are curved like a scalpel blade. These teeth can cut through the leg muscle of a full-grown water buffalo and cause it to bleed to death. The type of teeth that are found in lizards can also vary. There are two types of teeth that are found in lizards – acrodont and pleurodont. Acrodont teeth are attached to the top of the jawbone, while pleurodont teeth are attached to the side of the jawbone. The type of teeth influences what the lizard eats. Some lizards use their teeth to tear chunks of meat from their prey, while others use their teeth to crush the shells of mollusks and crustaceans. Overall, lizards have a varying number of teeth depending on their species, and the type of teeth they have influences what they eat.


After researching and analyzing the available information, it can be concluded that all lizards have teeth. However, the number, shape, and size of their teeth vary depending on the species and their diet.

Some lizards have sharp and pointed teeth for catching and tearing prey, while others have flattened teeth for crushing and grinding food. The venomous lizards have grooves or folds on the inner side of each mandibular tooth that conduct venom from the lizard to its victim.

Lizards’ teeth are not attached to bone but rather to keratin, which means they can fall out and grow back over the course of their lifetime. The dentition of lizards varies from one species to another within the taxonomic family, where some have pleurodont teeth formation, while others have acrodont teeth.

Overall, lizards’ teeth are well adapted to the type of food they eat and play a crucial role in their survival. Understanding the dental structure of lizards can help in their conservation and management as well as in developing effective pest control strategies.

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