This captive Morelet's crocodile has lost most of the upper and lower teeth near the front of its jaw. This is quite often seen in captive animals which have knocked their heads against solid objects in the enclosure. Teeth lost in this manner usually regrow relatively quickly, because crocodiles replace their teeth throughout their life, usually with a new tooth every 1 to 2 months. If the actual tooth alveolus is damaged, however, then the tooth regeneration can stop altogether. This is often the result of fights between adult crocodiles, and some very old crocodiles are so battle-weary that they have lost most of their teeth permanently. There are other reasons for tooth loss also, such as a lack of calcium in the diet.
Photograph © John White
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