Smilodon Fact #9: Very Long Canines
The largest of the Smilodons were very large indeed. This is not the most fascinating thing about them, however. What really tends to grab our attention is their elongated canines, but it is not unusual for canines to be longer than the rest of the teeth. Such long teeth are ideal for penetrating into prey, and modern large cats use them to bite into their prey’s windpipe to suffocate them. They are easily seen in today’s lion and tigers, as well as other non-feline species.
The saber-toothed tiger, however, had super-sized canines. Some canines have been found that were around 12 inches long. To put that into perspective, the canines of the modern African lion are under 3 inches long. Despite their size, the saber-toothed cat’s canines were not as strong as you might expect them to be. It was not rare for them to be broken, and they were unable to grow them back again.