Few things are as interesting as the dentition of a goat. Relentless chewers, you may have been curious about what type of teeth these herbivores have. This curiosity is granted, given that you only get to see their lower teeth most of the time. Specifically, you must have wondered if goats have top teeth.
Goats – as typical of other ruminants like sheep and cattle – don’t have upper front teeth. Lacking upper incisors, goats have dental pads. These specialized pads are adapted to tearing and grinding the goat’s food.
The goat’s dentition is quite a unique one, worthy of our investigation. What kind of teeth do they have? How many teeth does a goat have in its mouth? Can you tell a goats age by teeth?, Read on to get the answers to these exciting questions and more.
How Many Teeth Does a Goat Have?
As you have learned, goats don’t have upper incisors. In place of such traditional upper front teeth, the frontal section of the goat’s upper jaw is decked with a tough dental pad.
For a mature goat, you get 32 teeth. Let us do the math. The dental formula of a goat is 0/4 incisors, 3/3 premolars, 3/3 molars.
The numerators of each of these formulas represent the number of teeth in the upper jaw. Equivalently, the denominator shows the number of teeth in the lower jaw. Given this, 0/4 in the incisors shows that the goat’s upper jaw has no incisors but has four sets of incisors in the lower jaw.
Moving forward, the goat’s upper jaw (lacking incisors) has three sets of molars and three sets of molars. This gives you a total of 0+ (3×2)+ (3×2)=12 teeth. That means the goat has 12 teeth in the upper jaw.
Let us climb down to the lower jaw. From the formula, there are four sets of incisors, three sets of lower molars and premolars: (2×4) + (3×2) + (3×2) = 20 teeth in the lower jaw.
Add the 12 teeth in the upper jaw to the 20 in the lower jaw, and you have 32 teeth in the goat’s mouth!
What Do Goat Teeth Look Like?
Generally, the teeth structure of the goat reveals a dental pad sitting in the upper jaw’s front section. Teeth are situated further inside the upper jaw, and the lower jaw has full sets of teeth.
At What Age Do Goats Lose Teeth?
Goats start losing their teeth when they are 12 months old. Specifically, the goat loses its middle front teeth when it is about a year old.
The exiting middle teeth have permanent teeth – relatively bigger- growing in their place. By the time the goat is two years old, the teeth bordering the middle pair also leaves and with permanent similarly taking their place.
On the other end of maturity, goats start losing their teeth when they are over four years old.
Can You Tell a Goat’s Age by Teeth?
To a reasonable extent, you can estimate a goat’s age from its dental formation. But take note that is not always accurate, as just like humans, there is individual variance in the time a tooth shoots out.
Commonly, kids are born with deciduous teeth (a pair situated in the center), which are progressively replaced by permanent teeth. In the first 14 days of life, the second set shoots out.
The third set would erupt from 14 to 21 days, with the fourth similarly coming out between 21-28 days. By the fourth week, the goat could already be growing deciduous premolars, although it never develops molar.
As said, the standard is a goat gets its first set of adult teeth by 12 months. 24 months also means double pair of adult teeth. In extension, goats three years of old tend to have three sets of adult teeth.
Typically, by the time the goat is four years old, it should have four complete sets of adult teeth. This is when the goat is said to have developed a full mouth.
By the time the goat ages past four years, it becomes a bit more challenging to tell its age from its dental formulation accurately. Subsequent aging could see the elongation of the teeth, accompanied by the recession of the gum.
The further the goat ages, the increasingly their teeth lose their strength, possibly becoming broken.
Can You Brush Goat Teeth?
No, you don’t have to worry about brushing your goat’s teeth.
What Does It Mean When a Baby Goat Grinds Its Teeth?
There is no one reason why a kid could be grinding its teeth. First off, teeth grinding in baby goats – even in older goats – is suggestive of the goat being irritated. A bored baby goat can also grind its teeth or chew its cud. Many owners see these as bad habits.
But your baby goat could grind its teeth for more serious reasons. A baby goat can grind its teeth when it is in pain and is trying to communicate its discomfort.
If you have an adult goat, teeth grinding can also suggest your goat approaching early labor. In such situations, the goat can grind its teeth for days.
What Does It Mean When a Goat Shows Its Teeth?
If you have watched goats closely, you would have noticed a bemusing habit of showing their teeth. This is called the Flehmen response, and it is not only exclusive to goats. Lions, hippopotamuses, tigers, and even rhinos display this Flehmen response.
Basically, when a goat shows its teeth in the Flehmen response, it takes a sizable gust of air and briefly holds it. This enhances their sensory appreciation of an object.
Why Do Goats Bite Each Other?
Goats can bite themselves in the social battle to establish dominance or hierarchy in a herd.
Will Goats Bite Humans?
Incidences of goat biting humans are rare. This is given the inability of goats to bite fervently as other animals. As we have established, the goat’s dentition means they lack front upper incisors (having a flat palate instead).
Upper incisors (which the goat lacks) are crucial in biting efficiently and forcefully. The goat’s teeth are majorly adapted for grinding.
Can Goats Bite Through Chicken Wire?
Not the easiest of tasks but with persistence, a goat can work its ways through chicken wire, especially if it persistently gnaws at the chicken wire.
Overall, chicken wire is not the best enclosure for your goat as it wouldn’t have much problem jumping over it. Also, it is not very unlikely that your goat stretches the chicken wire with its hoof.
Why Do Goats Bite Clothes?
Goats, by their very nature, are inquisitive animals. Thing is, unlike your sheep and cattle, goats are not really grazers. Instead, they are classified as “browsing animals“. This means their sense of discernment largely comes from chewing and tasting the item first before determining the edibility of such an item. This implies a goat will likely chew on just anything that looks like plant material (clothes included).