Do Koi Carp Have Teeth?

Observing your mesmerizing koi carp fish while swimming around the pond and eating may come as a purely therapeutical activity. And it may certainly make you to notice even the smallest details as, indeed, these creatures are magnificent in every possible way.

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So, have you ever wondered whether koi carps have teeth? Well, even though it may come as a surprise to many, they do! Koi carp have plenty of teeth and often they lose their teeth. However, koi’s teeth are super-small and located pretty deep inside their mouth, so you have probably not even managed to notice them at first glance.

Therefore, next time you feed your colorful aquatic pets, make sure to have a closer look.

How Many Teeth Do Koi Have?

The exact number of teeth which a koi carp has depends on its sub-species as well as on the age of the fish. Therefore, it is impossible to answer this accurately. The teeth of koi fish are not classic teeth which we are all used to, but they are rather a modified version of such.

Indeed, they are called pharyngeal teeth for a particular reason: because they are located in their pharynx, or throat. They are formed into either two or three rows of such teeth, which are extremely small, and they are not even attached to the jaw.

How Do Koi Fish Use Their Teeth?

As just mentioned, koi fish do not feature classic teeth which would be attached to their jaws and allow them to masticate. Instead, their tiny teeth are located further down, pass their gills and almost reaching the very back of their throat.

There, they are actually attached to a bony structure. When eating, fish basically have to move their carp stone and to induce similar actions as those to chewing.

If you carefully observe your pets while doing so, you may even hear them while chewing. Indeed, other than using teeth to process their meals, they also use similar movements in order to communicate with each other. How amazing is that?

Do Koi Lose Their Teeth?

Yes, koi fish may lose their teeth every once in a while. But that does not have to mean that this is a bad thing. Indeed, these spectacular creatures are actually able of replacing their dated and worn-out teeth with brand new ones.

Yes, they are adaptable as that. And what is even more spectacular, these fish can re-grow their teeth as many times as they wish to. Some specimens may shed entire sets of teeth up to even 30 times during their life.

Depending on the substrate type and color you have chosen for your koi enclosure, you may sometimes even find their old teeth while cleaning their home. And other times, you may even observe your pets during their process of teeth replacement.

During such activity, they usually stick towards the bottom of the pond or tank, and they may seem as convulsing. Also, until new teeth do not grow (just a couple of days), they will often refuse food because they prefer softer meals which they usually find at the bottom. 

Do Koi Fish Bite and Does It Hurt?

Koi fish may bite and hurt, but not humans. Since their teeth are located way down their throat, getting bitten by a koi carp would literally mean having to stick a finger deep inside. And there is no reason for anyone to do that. Ever.

With these fish being quite intelligent and interactive with their humans, many keepers enjoy hand-feeding them. And this is totally safe. Sometimes, however, your koi may accidentally mistake your finger for food and suck it up.

Such a moment may hurt a bit, but nothing that even a kid could not handle. Therefore, these pets are completely safe for the entire family to feed and there is no danger of being bitten.

With smaller fish, however, this is another story, and they are absolutely not safe around the presence of koi fish. If they fit into their mouth, they will probably become a meal sooner or later. Indeed, koi fish are opportunistic feeders and will never hesitate on eating other fish out. Sometimes, even their own fry.

Wrapping Up

After finding out more about your amazingly colored pet fish and their fantastic little teeth, are you now feeling the urge to head over to your pond and take a closer look? Well, if you have any juveniles around there, you may actually be able of noticing them.

However, with older and fully grown specimens, the chances are less likely. In fact, the bigger the fish is, the harder it will be to spot its sets of minute teeth. The reason hiding behind that is the fact that as a koi carp grows, its teeth begin descending deeper inside their throat, almost reaching towards the end.

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