Do Iguanas have Teeth? The Surprising Dental Anatomy of Iguanas

Do iguanas have teeth is a question that seems to continually appears on forums, usually from new iguana owners or someone who is thinking of obtaining an Iguana. So just to confirm the fact, just like other reptiles such as lizards, snakes, turtles, or even crocodilians, iguanas also have a set of very sharp teeth.

In this post, we are going to answer a number of questions related to iguana teeth such as are baby iguanas born with teeth? How strong an iguana’s jaws are? Do iguanas use their teeth to bite, and how troublesome is their bite? This post is for you if you own a pet iguana, planning on getting one, or simply admire them as animals.

What Kind of Teeth Do Iguanas Have?


There are three types of reptile teeth; thecodont, acrodont, or pleurodont. All species of iguanas including the green iguana and the majority of lizards in general have pleurodont teeth.

I know, the term “pleurodont” might sound like it came straight out of a dinosaur documentary, but it simply refers to teeth that have shallow attachments to the jaw’s surface. These teeth don’t grow from the deep sockets like our own human teeth. Instead, they cling rather precariously to the edge of the jaw, almost like they are hanging on for dear life!

The coolest part about pleurodont teeth is their ‘revolving door’ policy. Over time, as these teeth wear down, they’re replaced with new, sharper ones that grow directly behind and underneath the old. It’s a bit like a continuous assembly line, always churning out newer, sharper teeth!

Iguanas have between 80 and 120 of these razor-sharp teeth at any given time. That’s a crowded mouth, isn’t it? If you’re having trouble picturing this, just think of a steak knife’s serrated edge. Imagine these tiny, serrated, diamond-shaped teeth arranged in neat, uniform rows in an iguana’s jaws.

But don’t let the numbers mislead you. These aren’t random teeth of various sizes and shapes like we have (you know, our mix of molars, incisors, and so on). No, iguanas are much more consistent. Every single tooth, whether it’s located at the front or back of their jaws, is the same size and shape. While it might seem a bit primitive, these teeth are incredibly sharp and specialized, perfectly designed for their job of tearing apart plants and insects.

Do Baby Iguanas Have Teeth?


Baby iguanas are born with fully formed teeth, ready to