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Toothy Bird

The tendency of illustrators to give humanlike teeth to birds and other animals that lack them in Real Life. NOTE: This trope can apply to all animals that don't normally have teeth, not just birds.

The trope namers are all the birds in traditional animation who often appear to lack teeth normally - but will suddenly have them in order to form a human-based facial expression that requires them. A big toothy grin, clenched teeth of rage, and so on. This trope can also cover teeth appearing on other non-toothed animals (eg turtles), but birds are overwhelmingly the most common animals to be subjected to it.

Sometimes, all the teeth in the animal's mouth (whether of a toothed species or of a toothless one) are drawn as incisors, whether a little wider than real incisors or not. In Real Life, no animal has a mouth with dentition made up entirely of incisors, not even humans.

This is almost exclusively seen in traditional animation. In CGI, on the other hand, the transient teeth would be harder to implement, since all animation of a character is done from a fixed model.

A somewhat rarer form of the trope is for the not-normally-toothed animal to have teeth at all times. This is somewhat more common in CGI, given the difference between traditional and computer animation.

Similar to No Mouth, where a mouth appears only when the character is speaking. See also Cartoony Eyes and Feather Fingers. For the record, actual toothed birds existed (once) and were once known as Odontolcae or Odontotormae, depending on how their teeth are set, until it was realized that many of these birds were no more closely related to each other than to modern birds.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • On the TV advertisement of Kinder Pingui a family of animated penguins smiled widely showing teeth.
  • Mammal variant: one Dentisticks dog-chew ad depicts "doggy dentures" as a joke, with smiling dogs displaying brilliant white CGI teeth that are very obviously shaped like a human's, not a dog's. Yes, dogs are supposed to have teeth, but the incongruity of this trope still applies.

     Anime and Manga 
  • Chicken George from Fourteen.
  • Lampshaded in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure part 3, when Iggy (a dog) battles Pet Shop (a falcon). Pet Shop flashes an evil grin at one point (although he shows no teeth), which Iggy notes shouldn't be possible.
  • The Japanese Star Fox manga gave Falco teeth whenever he needed to look angry or cocky.
  • Birdramon from Digimon Adventure, but not her previous form, Biyomon.
  • Has been seen numerous times in the Pokémon anime, but justified in that the creatures are purely fictional.
    • It's often one-off gags. For example, Dawn's Piplup normally has no teeth, but at times he is shown with them (noticeably when he grates them).
  • Carue from One Piece, who is a so-called Super Spot-Billed Duck, at first only gets teeth when he is making funny facial expressions. Later on, he always has teeth when he opens his beak. The same goes for other Super Spot-Billed Ducks. Later, the bird Chuchuun, a Super Sparrow, appears and it has teeth too. The author later states that all the bird species in the verse with a species name starting with "Super" have teeth, because it's more "super" to have teeth than to lack them.

    Comic Books 
  • Scrooge McDuck's ancestor Seafoam McDuck from Carl Barks had a mouth full of gold teeth.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Peanuts, Woodstock and other birds have done this.
  • All the bird characters in Shoe seem to have teeth. The women have Non-Mammal Mammaries, too
  • The penguins in If
  • Ugly Bird, from the children's magazine Cricket, has fang-like projections on the inside edges of his beak.

     Literature 
  • In the Brazilian 1970s-era children's book series A Galinha Nanduca (Nanduca, the Chicken) The titular bird has teeth, and this is actually the major plot point of the stories: When people realize she has teeth, everyone tries to capture her to make money out of the poor animal, causing a huge havoc where ever she goes, eventually destroying the city. One of the books has even a famous brazilian entertainer to join the chase, eventually promising a good reward to anyone who catches her.
  • Paul Jennings' short story "Picked Bones" has literal Toothy Birds, which tear apart the protagonist's pet cat after hypnotising it into feeding them enough to become adults in less than a day.

    Video Games 
  • Skullgirls: Peacock's bird lackey Avery sports a set of beaky teeth (Peacock herself, despite the name, is not actually a bird). Justified because Avery isn't a real bird but an artificial construct created by Peacock herself, just like the rest of her cartoon minions.
  • King Dedede in games of the Kirby series. Also in the anime.
  • The Babylon Rogues from the Sonic the Hedgehog series sometimes have teeth.
  • The talking head animations for some of the Eldar characters in the Dawn of War series show human-like teeth when they open their mouths, but according to the Xenology sourcebook Eldar are toothless, instead having serrated jawbones like some of the basal birds described in the Real Life section.
  • Archen and its evolution Archeops from Pokémon have sharp teeth.
  • Something Else: Shows up as an obstacle in The Last Castle. They're clearly Rip Von Fish sprite-swaps as they share the same behaviors as Rip Van Fish.

    Webcomics 
  • Several of the gryphons in The Pride Of Life have permanent teeth. Probably justified in that they have lion ancestry.
  • The gryphons in Skin Deep have teeth in their beaks, but Word of God says that their beaks are actually more similar to dinosaur jaws than to bird beaks.
  • One strip of Lola The Swallow has Lola asking a fairy for teeth, then popcorn for using the teeth and a movie she can watch while eating the popcorn.

     Western Animation 
  • Daffy Duck shows off his Schroedinger's Teeth in every appearance. Most other Looney Tunes birds also do this at least occasionally.
    • Despite retaining his teeth in Baby Looney Tunes, Daffy somehow got upset that he didn't have any teeth because he wouldn't get any money from the tooth fairy. He still had teeth in that episode and nobody noticed them, not even himself.
    • In The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy gets drastic beak reduction surgery, which left exposed his upper teeth.
  • Donald Duck has also been known to call pearly whites into existence, mainly to express anger.
    • Or when he has a particularly mischievous smile.
  • In another Disney example, Iago from Aladdin, as pictured above, sports a fine set of choppers.
  • Yet another Disney example: Not really a bird, but Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb has a teeth-ful beak, and it often shows when he makes a sound.
  • Ducks in general seem to make up a lot of these, although this may be an artifact of ducks being the most frequently featured birds in cartoons. Examples:
    • "Lobo The Duck" and Howard the Duck both have permanent teeth, perhaps in order to give them a way to hold their cigars. (Probably justified with Howard since he's from an alternate universe and can't really fly (it's believed birds have no teeth to lighten their skulls).
    • The Mighty Ducks, said ducks would often show full sets of pearly-whites.
    • Count Duckula, by necessity, has teeth. Our Vampires Are Different, but not that different.
    • Duckman and his family.
    • Quackerjack from Darkwing Duck always has teeth. Negaduck has also been seen with them. Darkwing (Negaduck's not-so-evil twin) can display them for a shiny smile, or to pull something open with them. And at one point, while showing that hamminess runs in the family, Gosalyn flashes some fangs while introducing a story.
    • Dr. LeQuack from Courage the Cowardly Dog.
  • Birds in Aardman Animation's works will have humanlike teeth if and when they talk. Examples are Chicken Run and Creature Comforts.
  • Buzzy the Crow has has teeth, one of them even being gold!
  • A majority of the birds from Ren and Stimpy.
    • Related John Kricfalusi example: Stanley the elephant in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Who Bopped Bugs Bunny?" has his mouth (with teeth) at the end of his trunk.
      • Stanley was pretty inconsistent; he'd occasionally have his mouth in the normal location. So either he had two mouths or the animators weren't paying any attention to what they were doing.
  • Vlad Vladikoff from Horton Hears a Who!is an example of the "always has teeth" variant. In a nice subversion, the teeth he has are fairly realistic as far as what bird teeth looked like (see below).
  • Averted in The Penguins of Madagascar (though it'd have to do with the CGI models), but interestingly enough, said penguins do tend to smile or frown in a variety of ways (from smiling to smirking to psychotically grinning; from frowning to scowling to glowering), mainly because their beaks easily conform into such shapes.
    • Played straight in some storyboards; they're shown to have teeth when it's funny.
  • In the fourth The Land Before Time movie, Ichy, a bird, has a set of teeth. The trope is justified in this case, since he is an Ichthyornis, a prehistoric bird which did have teeth in real life.
    • Guido, the microraptor from the penultimate Land Before Time movie is a sort of inversion. He looks like your usual toothy bird, only having teeth in certain instances. He really should have had teeth the whole time. Sharp ones. He also lacked the big toe claw that microraptors had. The Movie acted like he was just a weird looking modern bird instead of the tiny deinonychosaur that he was.
    • Turning to more regularly-occurring characters, there is Petrie the Pteranodon who has also been known to summon a set of pearly whites on occasion. While some pterosaurs had teeth, Pteranodon did not and the name in fact literally translates to "winged toothless".
  • Dinosaur: A well-known non-bird (though still a beaked dinosaur) example: Aladar and his creepy-ass humanlike teeth inside his creepy-ass fleshy lips.
    • A magazine published around when the movie hit theaters said that the creators tried giving the Iguanadons beaks, and found that they made it look like he was clopping coconuts together. It also just looked lazy.
  • Another non-bird example: Pluto The Pup is a non-anthro dog with very un-doglike teeth. Come to think of it, his human/horselike teeth that are all incisors and flat molars are pretty creepy too.
    • Especially noticeable in "Canine Caddy," the gopher and Mickey Mouse are drawn with species appropriate buck teeth, but Pluto still has a mouth full of teeth that all look like incisors or flat molars.
  • Don Bluth's The Pebble and the Penguin has the villainous Drake, who could bite through a coconut with his ridiculous looking chompers. Just look at his picture on the film's poster.
    • On the subject of Don Bluth, Jeremy from The Secret of NIMH occasionally sports a mouth full of pearly whites in some scenes.
  • The Goodfeather pigeons from Animaniacs.
  • A human example: Stewie often seems to have a mouth full of teeth, even though he is supposed to be a baby who has only gotten two.
  • Abby "Ugly Duckling" Mallard from Chicken Little sports a huge pair of buck teeth at all times.
  • Poe from Ruby Gloom has teeth at all times, even mentioning in one episode that he's had his wisdom teeth taken out.
  • Boris, the goose from Balto, has teeth most of the time.
    • Toned down in the sequels, as the animation style is different.
  • Justified in some depictions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as their (toothless) turtle traits were altered by the addition of human ones.
    • Can be a case of Depending on the Writer, as jokes are sometimes made regarding the turtles having beaks instead of mouths.
  • Chicken in Cow and Chicken.
  • The earliest Woody Woodpecker cartoons show him with snaggle teeth. In a later cartoon (once his character had evolved), Woody shows off his pearly whites, explaining that he cut his own teeth.
  • Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog has teeth even as a frog, as his toothy grin is a big part of his character design. Tiana, however, does not retain her teeth as a frog. (In real life, frogs do have teeth, though not like human teeth.)
    • Also, Ray the firefly and his family all have teeth (although they don't all have all their teeth).
  • Mordecai the blue jay from Regular Show, according to one of the storyboarders, has "beaka dentata".
  • Finding Nemo featured not only toothy pelicans, but also toothy fish (not counting the sharks). Especially noticable is Kathy, one of Nemo's classmates (she is a blue and yellow fish with prominent buck teeth who screams, "Oh my gosh, Nemo's swimming out to sea!" after seeing Nemo touching the diver's boat).
    • Bloat the pufferfish is shown having human-like molars in the film as well. While pufferfish do have teeth, they are actually formed into a sort of beak-like structure to help them crack open crusteceans and mollusks (their primary source of food).
  • Lovie the bird on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • An early episode of Crusader Rabbit featured Vernon the vulture, who not only had teeth but got them knocked out of his beak.
  • Duck from Almost Naked Animals.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: Not birds per se, but Rocko's cantankerous neighbors, the Bigheads, should count since they're cane toads (unlike frogs, who have small teeth on their upper jaw, most toads do not have teeth). Most notable for Ed Bighead, who often bares human-like teeth when he's angry.
  • The birds in Birdz have not just teeth, but also faces that resemble a snout more than a beak.
  • The birds in Jumanji have teeth at all times, not for comedy but to make them more frightening. It works.
  • When grinning, Gilda the griffon from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic gains not only teeth but also lips extending far beyond her beak. It's better not to think about it too hard.
  • A flashback picture in Surf's Up shows that Lani was this when she was a kid.
  • As a Sky Bison, Appa has teeth, but bizarrely all of them look like molars.
  • In Shrek Forever After, Rumplestiltskin's giant goose has teeth.
  • In 'New Mexico', the roadrunners Elise encounters have teeth.
  • Scratch in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, though it might be more justified than some other examples, since he's a robot that merely looks like a chicken.
  • The penguins from 3-2-1 Penguins!
  • Spot the chicken from 101 Dalmatians: The Series.
  • Ernie the Giant Chicken in Family Guy. This is probably so he can have them punched out by Peter Griffin every time they fight.

    Real Life 
  • Archaeopteryx, the earliest bird to appear in the fossil record, had teeth, making it the Ur Example. These were lost, along with certain other features like bony tails, in the Neornithes, the group that contains all modern birds. Other toothy birds (the "Enantiorns") also existed during the Mesozoic. The reason only toothless birds exist today is because a few species of toothless birds survived the K-T extinction versus none of the toothed species.
  • The University of Louisville Cardinal has teeth.
  • Wacky genetics: Scientists have grown chicken embryos with teeth in hopes that it may lead to a breakthrough against baldness.
  • The deep ocean squid species Promachoteuthis sulcus looks like it has human teeth. Actually, it's an optical illusion created by the squid's teeth-like lips, but that doesn't make it any less creepy looking.
  • Saw-billed ducks [also known as mergansers] are a weird example, as their bills have serrations on the inside edges to help them grip slippery fish. Not true teeth, but their function is similar. From the side, an open-beaked duck looks as if it has a set of minature shark teeth.
  • Moa-nalo, extinct large ducks that lived on Hawaii till about 17th century CE. Related to mergansers, but a different subfamily. They filled the ecological niche of goats and deer and some of them evolved impressive "pseudoteeth".
  • The toothlike serrations inside a penguin's mouth, also used to grip fish, are #3 of Cracked's 7 Most Terrifying Mouths in Nature.
  • Ducks have tooth-like structures on the sides of their bill called pecten, which are used for preening and straining food from the water.
  • Pelagornithids were large extinct seabirds that had prominent tooth-like serrations on their beaks.
  • Many birds are born with a single toothlike structure in the front of the beak. It's called an egg tooth and is used to break the eggshell during hatching. Some turtles and toothless reptiles/amphibians share this trait. It disappears as the chick grows.


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