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10 Animals With Big Mouths

Yawning hippo showing off its big mouth.
Yawning hippo showing off its big mouth. JFJacobsz/

Do you ever wonder which animals have the biggest mouths? It’s fascinating to think about animal mouths’ different sizes and shapes and how they use them to survive in their environments. From predators to herbivores, many animals with big mouths play a crucial role in their lives.

Bowhead Whale

Bowhead whale animal with a big mouth.
Olga Shpak, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking for an animal with a massive mouth, look no further than the bowhead whale. This species of baleen whale has a triangular skull that it uses to break through Arctic ice, and its mouth is the largest of any animal on the planet.

Bowhead whales can grow between 14 and 18 meters (46 to 59 feet) long and weigh between 75,000 and 100,000 kilograms (83 to 110 short tons).

Bowhead whales are filter feeders, using their baleen plates to strain small organisms like krill and copepods from the water. They can consume up to 1.8 tonnes (2 short tons) of food per day.

One fascinating thing about bowhead whales is that they are some of the longest-lived animals on the planet. Scientists have estimated that some individuals can live over 200 years old!

Whale Shark

Whale shark animal with a big mouth.

As the largest fish in the world, this gentle giant can grow up to 40 feet long and weigh as much as 20 tons! Its mouth alone can be up to five feet wide, which is big enough to swallow a small car!

Despite their size, whale sharks are filter feeders, meaning they eat tiny plankton and small fish by swimming through the water with their mouths open. They have rows of small teeth but don’t use them to chew their food. Instead, they filter out the water and trap the food with their gills.

Basking Shark

Animal with a big mouth basking shark.
Greg Skomal / NOAA Fisheries Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

These gentle giants have a mouth that can stretch almost a meter across, making them one of the largest of any living animal.

Despite their intimidating appearance, basking sharks are actually harmless to humans. They’re filter feeders, which means they feed on tiny plankton by sucking in large amounts of water and filtering out the plankton with their gills.

Basking sharks are the second-largest living shark and fish after the whale shark. Adults typically reach 7.9 meters in length. They’re found in temperate waters around the world, from the eastern coast of North America to the western coast of Europe and South Africa.


Hippo an animal with a big mouth.

The hippo has the largest mouth of all land animals on Earth! A fully mature male hippo can open his mouth up to 180 degrees wide, leaving four feet of open space between his jaws.

But why do hippos have such big mouths? Well, hippos are herbivores and need to consume a lot of grass to sustain their massive bodies. Their large mouths and powerful jaws allow them to chew through tough grass and other vegetation easily.

Interestingly, hippos also have canine teeth growing up to 28 inches long. Despite their size, hippos are quite agile in the water and can hold their breath for up to five minutes.

Although hippos may look cute and harmless, they are one of the world’s most dangerous animals. They are quite aggressive and have been known to attack boats and even humans who get too close to their territory.


Animal with a big mouth Asian elephant.

Elephants have a unique feature that sets them apart from other animals: their trunk. This long, flexible appendage is an elongated nose and upper lip that can be used for various purposes.

One of the primary functions of an elephant’s trunk is to help them eat. Elephants are herbivores, consuming various plant matter, including leaves, grasses, and fruits. Their trunk allows them to reach high branches or pluck fruit from trees and pick up small items like seeds or berries.

In addition to eating, an elephant’s trunk is also used for drinking. Elephants are known for their love of water, and they can use their trunk like a straw to suck up water from a river or lake. They can also use their trunk to spray water over their body, which helps to keep them cool in hot climates.

Beyond eating and drinking, an elephant’s trunk is also used for communication. Elephants are highly social animals, and they use a variety of sounds and gestures to communicate with one another. By using their trunk to trumpet or make other noises, they can alert other elephants to potential danger or signal their location.


Animal with a big mouth potoo.
Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These nocturnal birds are known for their distinctive call, which sounds like a phrase repeated over and over again: “poor me, poor me” or “hooty hooooo”.

Potoos belong to the family Nyctibiidae and are related to nightjars and frogmouths. They have a large head in relation to their body, with enormous eyes and a short but broad beak. Their wings are elliptical in shape, and their tail is elongated.

Potoos are medium-sized birds that can come in several different colours, including white, grey, brown, burgundy, and reddish-orange. Some great potoos are completely monochrome, while others look tawny with mottled spots on their feathers.

One of the most interesting things about Potoos is their big mouth. This adaptation helps them catch their prey more effectively at night when there isn’t much light available for hunting. Their yellow eyes help then in the darkness. Their comically wide mouth makes them look a bit like a cartoon character.

In addition to their big mouth, Potoos are also known for their haunting calls. They are sometimes called “poor-me-ones” because of their distinctive call. Despite their eerie call, Potoos are fascinating birds that are worth learning more about.


Animal with a big mouth great white pelican.

If you’re looking for a bird with a big mouth, look no further than the pelican. Pelicans are known for their distinctive, oversized bills.

There are eight different species of pelicans, but the best-known are the two species of white pelicans: the North American white pelican and the European white pelican. These birds can grow up to 1.8 meters in length and have a wingspan of up to 3 meters, making them one of the largest birds in North America and Europe.

One of the most interesting things about the pelican’s bill is that it is not just big but also very flexible. The lower jaw of the bill is hinged and can be opened wide to scoop up fish and other prey. Once the pelican has caught its prey, it tips its head down to let the water drain out of the bill, leaving behind only the fish.

Pelicans are also known for their dramatic plunging dives, which they use to catch fish. Brown pelicans, in particular, are the only species of pelican that hunts in this way. They fly high above the water and then suddenly dive straight down, hitting the water at high speed to catch their prey.


Crocodile an animal with a big mouth.

Crocodiles are one of the most well-known animals with big mouths. They are large, predatory reptiles that can grow up to 20 feet long and weigh over 2,000 pounds. Their powerful jaws have sharp teeth that can easily tear through flesh and bone.

Crocodiles are found in many parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. They are semi-aquatic, spending much of their time in and around water. They are excellent swimmers and can hold their breath for up to an hour while underwater.

Crocodiles are cold-blooded, which means they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. They bask in the sun to warm up and seek shade or water to cool down. They are also known to be quite intelligent and have been observed using tools to catch their prey.

American Alligator

American alligator animal with a big mouth.

These reptiles can grow up to 15 feet long, weigh over 1,000 pounds, and have incredibly powerful jaws. The force of an alligator’s bite is among the strongest in the animal kingdom, with some estimates putting it at over 2,000 pounds per square inch.

One of the most distinctive features of the American alligator is its armoured body. Both males and females have a muscular, flat tail and four short legs. The skin on their back is armoured with embedded bony plates called osteoderms or scutes. They have five toes on their front legs and four toes on their back legs.

Alligators are carnivores, and their diet consists mainly of fish, turtles, birds, and mammals. They are known to be opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever prey is available. Alligators are also known to be ambush predators. They will wait patiently for their prey to come close before launching a surprise attack.

Alligators are found in the coastal wetlands of the southeastern United States, from North Carolina to eastern Texas. They are also found in southern Florida, including the Everglades. Despite their fearsome reputation, American alligators are an important part of the ecosystem.


Lion an animal with a big mouth.

One of the most striking features of a lion’s mouth is its teeth. Lions have four sharp canine teeth that can grow up to 3 inches long. These teeth are used to grab and hold onto prey, and they are strong enough to crush bones. Lions also have sharp incisors and premolar teeth, which they use to tear and chew meat.

Another interesting aspect of a lion’s mouth is its tongue. A lion’s tongue is covered in tiny spines called papillae, which help it remove meat from bones and groom its fur.

A lion’s roar can be heard up to 5 miles away. Roaring is a way for lions to communicate with each other and mark their territory. Lions also communicate with other vocalizations, such as grunts, growls, and moans.

Before you go . . .

Now you know about animals with big mouths why not discover the animals with the smallest mouths.