Roe Canines?

Strange canine teeth on a roe buck's skull.

Strange canine teeth on a roe buck’s skull.

Bizarre to find that the buck I shot on Tuesday morning has quite pronounced canine teeth. These are loosely mounted on the top jaw, protruding about 5mm into the mouth, slightly asymmetrically. I’ve never seen this on a roe before, but I am assured that around 15% of roe have canine teeth of some sort. I don’t know whether or not this figure only includes those which are big enough to break through the gum or whether it also includes the (presumably) more common state of teeth which never break through to be seen.

I noticed it when I first opened the buck’s mouth to look at his teeth, but despite having a camera with me, I didn’t take a photograph for some reason. Even when I got it home and started to skin the head, I still didn’t take a photograph and this picture was taken this morning only after the head had been partly boiled. The canine teeth are so loose that perhaps they will fall out before the boiling process is complete, so unfortunately this is the best picture I have been able to muster.

This raises all kinds of questions as to why some roe should grow vestigial canine teeth. This buck was a particularly old boy, and many of his other teeth were either badly worn or wobbly, so perhaps the longevity of his life allowed the canines to come through where otherwise they might have lain undiscovered beneath the gum.

It would be interesting to hear if any readers have ever found anything similar –

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