You might not be aware of them, but fish with teeth exist.
And in some species, the teeth are so big that you need to be extra careful, plus use alternative methods to land these terrible-looking sea creatures if you go fishing.
Some of these fish live about 500 – 5000 meters below the water surface – depths you’d never want to reach. But that’s good riddance because as you dive deeper, the chances of meeting dangerous fish which can tear you apart increase.
The good news is you don’t need to dive into the ocean or lakes to know about these fascinating fish with big teeth. In this article, we explore these amazing creatures in depth.
So, let’s dive in here instead. It’s a safe place.
13 Types of Fascinating Fish With Big Teeth
1. Sloane’s viperfish
Sloane’s viperfish is a small predatory fish found in temperate and tropical waters worldwide.
While small, Sloane’s viperfish has the largest teeth compared to the fish head. The teeth overlap the muscular jaw when the animal closes its mouth.
The fish can dive as deeper as 1000 meters below the water surface, but sea divers can recognize these fish thanks to their big mouths filled with fang-like teeth.
2. Great white sharks
Also called the white pointer, the great shark is a mackerel species that lives in offshore and coastal waters of all major oceans.
The sea monsters have more than 300 teeth, which can grow to about six inches in height. Found on both jaws, they’re all serrated, razor-sharp for tearing prey into pieces and piercing through the flesh when feeding.
The big and blade-like teeth of great white sharks, in large part, account for their fearsome reputation. They’re depicted as ferocious creatures in many thriller movies, which is not surprising as they are responsible for the majority of all white shark human attacks. By 2012, the world has witnessed 272 unprovoked white great sharks on humans.
3. Goliath Tigerfish
Goliath tigerfish is a large, high predatory African freshwater fish that lives in river Lualaba, lakes Tanganyika, and Upemba in the Congo River Basin.
The tigerfish is an extreme version of regular with swords for teeth. 32 in number, the teeth of this fish can get as big as 2.5 centimeters, according to biologist Jeremy Wade.
Living up to its name, the fish can grow to lengths of 1.5 meters, and the largest sample recorded was 70 kilograms.
It’s one of the beautiful fish with a golden face and brown, yellow, white, or gray scales. However, don’t let that fool you to come close with the fish. The goliath triggerfish has a reputation for attacking fishermen in the congo basin region, so better off to watch fish from onshore.
4. Payara fish
The predatory payara fish is a species of dogteeth tetra native to the Amazon Basin in South America.
The payara fish deservedly earns its Dracula fish names thanks to its long fangs of teeth protruding from the lower jaw. At about 6 inches long, the teeth have knife-like edges and needle-like edges for impaling prey which can consist of as big fish as piranha.
While some fishermen in Rio pararagua River still catch payara fish, you need utmost care as the fish is as swift as a cobra and can teach you a painful, bloody experience.
Dracula fish can grow to about 30 centimeters and, although aggressive, is popular in aquariums, but you must keep it alone or mix it with other big fish for reasons you can guess.
5. Alligator gars
The alligator gar is a seemingly sluggish night predator fish that waits patiently to ambush other fish during the night. The gars live in reservoirs, rivers, lakes, and other water bodies in the Southern United States.
Unlike other fish on our list, the alligator gar is unique since it has two rows of big, sharp teeth, only on the upper jaw. But still, the teeth are up to the task as the gar is one of the most efficient hunters in the water.
And the big teeth are not only for hunting. According to gameandfishmag, the fish are so ferocious they can jump into your boat and are known to cause harm, thanks to their teeth, like tearing the vessel and breaking one’s leg!
Despite their ferocious reputation, the gar is still kept as a pet, although you’d not want the idea of keeping it in a community aquarium.
6. Northern Pike
Northern pike is an aggressive carnivorous fish that prefer sluggish shallow streams, weedy areas in reservoirs and lakes, and rocky rivers.
The aggressive fish boasts a lethal combination of teeth, fully packed in its mouth. The frontal area of the mouth hosts small but as many as 700 teeth. But the nightmare lies in the wide lower jaw, where you find scary canine chompers. The rather fang-like teeth can get as big as 2 centimeters and somewhat facing inwards. That’s why they are often referred to as water wolves by fishermen.
While the scary teeth are purposely for holding and tearing the prey, they’re the key facilitators of the fish’s aggressiveness. The aggression can result from insufficient food resources where the big fish turn against their counterparts. The lack of enough space also necessitates antagonism, with big pikes stealing the food of the minors.
Although prized as game fish due to their fighting spirit, you can guess what happens when you put any body part near this bad boy when you go fishing.
Also called the buffalo cod, lingcod is an ill-tempered fish belonging to the greenling family Hexagrammidae.
The fish is famous for its gapping mouth, reminiscent of a sci-fi monster. It’s inside this messy mouth where it’s more than 500 big teeth are arranged in sets – when it opens its mouth, you’d think you’ve just opened a silverware drawer. The fish mysteriously moves its teeth forward and spreads them out like the voracious creature it is.
Fishers regard lingcod as an economically important fish due to its great taco. And If you love fish sporting, you can find these fish around reefs and rock piles in West Coast waters that span the gulf of Alaska to Southern California.
But if you’re not afraid of fishing lingcod, maybe you don’t fear getting bruises for weeks as well.
8. Deep-sea Fangtooth
Deep-sea Fangtooths are fearsome-looking beryciform fish from the Anoplogastridae family. Found as far as 5000 meters below sea level, these Fangtooth make the list of deepest living fish.
While small (about 16 centimeters) and harmless to humans, these fish are aggressive hunters thanks to their enormous teeth. The middle two fangs in the lower jaw are so long that fish have evolved two opposing sockets on both sockets of the brain so its weapons can slot in effectively.
Among all fish, the Fangtooths have the largest teeth relative to the body.
9. Atlantic Wolf fish
The Atlantic wolf is marine fish from the Anarhichadidae family that inhabits the east and west coasts of the Atlantic.
The notable feature of the big-mouthed wolf Fish is the formidable set of enormous teeth that makes the fish stand out from its family members. The whole mouth is crammed with teeth, with all jaws occupied. The front row boasts about six fang-like teeth, while the upper jaw consists of three rows of teeth meant for crushing and about four molars. The last lower jaw also packs sizeable molars.
But despite that, fishermen are not afraid to catch this evil-looking fish. But still, it’s ferocious, and you don’t want to bring it near any of your body parts.
10. Black piranha
Black piranha is a freshwater fish from the Serrasalmidae family. It’s native to northern regions of South America.
According to Theodore Roosevelt, Black piranhas are the most ferocious fish in the world. That is not only due to the devilish red eyes of the fish but also the enormous razor-edged teeth that overlap.
But don’t let the big wicked teeth of piranhas scare you, as the fish rarely attack humans. The teeth are just for scraping vegetation and shredding up prey.
11. Deep-sea Dragonfish
Deep-sea Dragonfish are little (about 16 centimeters) cunning fish that hails from the gulf of Mexico and North and Western Atlantic Ocean.
Despite their small sizes, they are scarier thanks to their transparent fang-like big teeth. The big teeth help the fish grab and tear prey when the fish are hunting deeper in the ocean.
The good news is you’re unlikely to come across these deep sea divers as they only live about 1500 meters below the surface.
The marine bluefish is the extant species of the Pomatomidae family. It’s native to temperate and tropical waters worldwide, except Northern Atlantic.
The Bluefish has the smallest teeth on our list. But it still stands out among the over 30,000 fish species on earth. The teeth are sizeable, and you can notice them lying patiently on both lower and upper jaws. They’re all large conical shapes with knife-like edges, while the tips are sharp as a needle.
While it’s a popular game fish in many areas, especially on the northeast coast, you risk losing chunks of meat when the fish comes into contact with your body.
13. Sperm Whales
Also called cachalot, the sperm whale is one of the three extant species from the sperm whale family. Its range spans worldwide, with a preference for deep waters as far as 1000 meters below the water surface.
Of all the whale species, the sperm whale boasts the largest teeth. The exceptional teeth can grow to about 8 inches and only on the lower jaw. The upper has sockets instead, so the teeth slot in effortlessly in a mouth.
Despite their enormous sizes, sperm Whales are friendly to humans, and large teeth are only necessary when hunting giant squids deep in the ocean. That’s said, steering clear of these sea giants is advised.