What is this thing we found in the woods?
January 30, 2021 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Initially, we thought "tooth" however it doesn't really have roots like a tooth. So, maybe it is a claw?

But, either way, what kind of animal? It seems really big but it could just be a large dog's claw? Maybe a coyote? A fang tooth? It feels very solid and hard. Here are the photos!
posted by amanda to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
Definitely looks like an animal claw from the pictures. A quick web search tells me that it's probably not raccoon or coyote, but could be a fox or skunk. Seems a bit big for either of those, though. Could, of course just be a wolf or big dog...
posted by Anoplura at 7:38 PM on January 30, 2021

Best answer: Fox and other canid claws are more round. Theyre also the first knuckle of the phalanges, and therefore dont taper, but end bluntly and bulbously like a finer bone joint. I dont think its a claw.
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:42 PM on January 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Dammit hit post too soon. Canine teeth in animals do not have roots. Here are fox canine teeth, which is what I'm pretty sure this is. Raccoon teeth are similar size, but thicker at one end in a way these aren't
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:47 PM on January 30, 2021 [4 favorites]

The third picture shows a cross section that rules out bone, I think. So tooth or claw? I guess claw. Do you have bobcats or lynx in your region?
posted by vrakatar at 8:16 PM on January 30, 2021

Best answer: It looks like a coyote incisor tooth to me.
posted by zenon at 9:23 PM on January 30, 2021 [6 favorites]

FirstMateKate, your fox and raccoon links are the same. Link paste confusion?
posted by flabdablet at 10:53 PM on January 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: yup tooth. when skulls dry out the teeth fall out clean like that. Claws otoh would generally still be connected to some of the the rest of the toe or paw.
posted by cabin fever at 11:21 PM on January 30, 2021

Best answer: Not a claw - they keep growing and are rough at the end. Looks like a tooth, with remnants of flesh on the top half.
Next time I walk the dogs by the fox skull by the railroad tracks, I'll take a picture of the teeth that fell out when it got knocked over, for a reference.
posted by notsnot at 5:42 AM on January 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Claws are made of protein and they're semi-translucent like fingernails. Teeth are made of minerals and they're mostly opaque, like human teeth. So I think that's a tooth from a pretty large carnivore.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 9:03 AM on January 31, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: That looks exactly like a tooth that fell out of a coyote skull I happen to own.
posted by Orlop at 9:22 AM on January 31, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Sounds like consensus is tooth! It certainly looks closer to the tooth pics posted by zenon - maybe a lower incisor? We have coyote and raccoon here so I'm thinking one of those. We also have cougars but pretty rare and maybe that tooth would be larger. Maybe we should go back and see if there are other bones around!
posted by amanda at 10:08 AM on January 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

Browsing the web when I should be recording a comparative anatomy lecture, and here's a comparative anatomy question!

Definitely a canine tooth, and from a fairly small animal. Only about half the tooth would be exposed beyond the socket, so it was only projecting about half an inch. The elongated, narrow cross-section says cat to me. Either a dog or raccoon canine would somewhat rounder & thicker. It's not an incisor, because the cross section would be more of a triangle.
posted by wps98 at 12:28 PM on January 31, 2021 [3 favorites]

Follow up to my answer: Took some pictures of the skull on my dog walk. Like wps98 said, the tooth I saw was thicker than yours. Comparing the skull to online pics, my skull is probably a raccoon.
posted by notsnot at 5:04 AM on February 3, 2021

« Older Best way to buy a framed print of a professional...   |   Online Dnd for 11 year old Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.