Bite marks

Bite marks is another way to identify the presence of some pest animals.  Chew Cards or WaxTags® are used for population monitoring of some species. The cards or tags are baited to attract animals to bite into the card or tag, leaving characteristic impressions. The best guidance currently on identifying bite marks is online at Landcare Research or in their Chew-Track-Cards: A guide to the interpretation of animal tooth impressions. Bite marks reflect the arrangement, shape and size of the animal's teeth.

> Find out more about research into and how to use bite mark monitoring methods.

Mouse

Mice (like rats) have four incisor teeth at the front of the jaw (two top and two bottom). These long front teeth grow continuously so the animal must gnaw or chew enough to keep wearing them down. Mice have no canine teeth, a premolar midway back on each side of the bottom jaw and three molars, top and bottom, at the back on each side. 

For guidance on identifying mouse bite marks go to Landcare Research, 'Rodents' heading or pages 17-19 of their identification guide.

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Ship Rat

Rats (like mice) have four incisor teeth at the front of the jaw (two top and two bottom). These long front teeth grow continuously so the animal must gnaw or chew enough to keep wearing them down. Rats have no canine teeth, a premolar midway back on each side of the bottom jaw and three molars, top and bottom, at the back on each side. 

For guidance on identifying rat bite marks go to Landcare Research, 'Rodents' heading or pages 16 of their identification guide.

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Norway rat

Rats (like mice) have four incisor teeth at the front of the jaw (two top and two bottom). These long front teeth grow continuously so the animal must gnaw or chew enough to keep wearing them down. Rats have no canine teeth, a premolar midway back on each side of the bottom jaw and three molars, top and bottom, at the back on each side.

For guidance on identifying rat bite marks go to Landcare Research, 'Rodents' heading or pages 16 of their identification guide.

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Possum

Possums have six incisor teeth at the front of the jaw (four up and two down) designed for cutting plant matter; a relatively small canine part way back; and premolars/molars at the back for crushing and grinding plant matter.

For guidance on identfying possum bite marks go to Landcare Research, 'Possums' heading or pages 6-15 of their identification guide.

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Rabbit (European)

Rabbits have four large incisor teeth at the front of the top jaw (two large ones with two smaller ones tucked directly behind them) and two incisors on the bottom jaw. The top front incisors have a groove down the middle of them that can produce a scalloped bite mark. The premolars and molars at the back are designed for chewing and grinding their plant diet.  Rabbits teeth grow continuously. Like all rodents they have no canine teeth. Hare and rabbit bite marks are very similar.

For guidance on identfying rabbit bite marks go to Landcare Research, 'Rabbit' heading or pages 21-22 of their identification guide.

 

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Goat

Goats have no incisors in their upper jaw; instead they use the incisors at the front of the bottom jaw to chomp up against a bony pad at the front of the upper jaw. They have no canine teeth and are typical of grazing/browsing herbivores in having numerous premolars and molars at the back of the jaw for chewing and granding their plant food.

For guidance on identifying goat bite marks go to page 23 of the Landcare Research identification guide.

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Pig

Pigs' teeth are adapted to enable them to eat their omniverous diet (both plants and animals).  They have six incisor teeth at the front of the top and the bottom jaw and a single canine tooth on each side behind the incisors, top and bottom. The bottom canines form a tusk on each side, which grows continuously and is kept sharp with friction against the upper teeth. Further back, behind the canines, are the premolars and molars, used for crushing and grinding food.

Little information is available about identifying pig bite marks but see page 24 of the Landcare Research identification guide.

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Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are carnivores and insectivores, with a long snout and numerous (36) small teeth: twenty on the upper jaw and 16 on the lower jaw. They have 10 incisors, 4 canines, 10 premolars and 12 molars. See photo of hedgehog with mouth open, showing teeth at Arkive.

For guidance on identifying hedgehog bite marks go to Landcare Research, 'Hedgehog' heading or page 20 of their identification guide.

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Cat

Cats teeth are typical of carnivores, in having comparatively long, pointed canine teeth positioned well forwad on the upper and lower jaws. The incisors, at the front (six top and six lower) are comparatively small. Also typical iof carnivores is the compatively few premolars/molars at the back of the jaws compared to animals that eat plants.

For guidance on identifying cat bite marks go to Landcare Research, 'Carnivores' heading or page 20 of their identification guide.
 

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Stoat

Stoats are carnivores. They have long, pointed canine teeth positioned well forwad on the upper and lower jaws, with small incisors in centre front. Also typical iof carnivores the compatively few premolars/molars at the back of the jaws are quite jagged to tear meat and crush bone.

For guidance on identifying stoat bite marks go to Landcare Research, 'Carnivores' heading or page 20 of their identification guide.

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