Have you ever wondered how Northern Pike manage to feed on such variety of prey? They are not very picky when it comes to food – whether it’s a fish, frog, or even a waterbird like the duck. But how can they chew through skin, feathers, and scales? What about losing their teeth?
Northern Pike are known to be vicious predators who are mostly at the top of the food chain. For that, Northern pike use their pin-sharp teeth which are extremely efficient in ripping into its prey. Pike have multiple rows of sharp teeth to ensure a great grip on their meal.
I did some research on pike teeth, and in this article, we are going to look at some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic.
How Many Teeth Do Pike Have?
Have you ever looked into a pike’s mouth and wondered how many teeth they actually have? It looks like a million, right?
Pike have teeth in multiple rows. The main row of teeth runs on both upper and lower jawline. These are up to an inch long teeth, that can tare through their prey like butter.
But adding to that, pike also have multiple rows of teeth on the sealing of its mouth. These teeth help to keep the prey from escaping – once the prey is in the mouth, there is no getting out.
The biggest pike carcass found (which also beats the current world record) is 50 inches long. That carcass had 700 teeth in its mouth.
Pike can have from 300-700 teeth in its mouth as it grows.
How Big Are Pike Teeth?
We just learned that pike can have upwards to 700 teeth in their mouth. This made me think about the pike teeth length.
Just how long can pike teeth grow?
While the length of pike teeth can vary across their mouth and depending on their size, pike teeth grow up to 1 inch (2,5 cm) long. This being said, only a few teeth in their mouth grow to be as long. Other teeth are can grow up to 0.2-0.4 inches (0,5-1 cm).
Could you imagine having up to 700 teeth in your mouth and some of them being 1 inch long? Put that together with the sheer strength of the pike and you can see why they are on top of the food chain.
Do Northern Pike Shed Their Teeth?
When talking about pike shedding their teeth, people seem to divide into two sides – the ones who claim pike do shed their teeth in summer, and the ones who dismiss that theory.
Until this day, there is actually no evidence that Pike shed their teeth regularly – e.g. like it’s also falsely believed that Walleyes shed their teeth in August. It seems to be a fishers tale which has been spreading for decades.
However, pike lose their teeth occasionally, if there has been an injury – e.g while engaging in an attack goes wrong. In this case, the teeth might be broken off or injured. Pike can also lose their teeth if there is an infection under the teeth.
Can Pike Bite Through Braid?
Braided lines are known for their strength which is why many fishers tend to use them. It’s especially good for pike fishing as the braid doesn’t give back as much as, for example, monoline. This makes it easier to hook when a pike grabs your lure.
Because the same strength braided line has a smaller diameter than the monofilament, the braid is also used to simply put more line to the reel. This allows for much longer casts.
Can pike bite through the braided line? Although the braided line absorbs tension better than the monoline, it also has a low resistance to abrasion. Meaning, it’s an easy target for sharp edges or for pike’s teeth.
This shouldn’t scare you away from using braided line for pike fishing. However, it’s a good idea to use a 2-3 ft monofilament leader at the end of your line, which can absorb the initial impact and it has a much higher resistance to abrasion.
When fishing for pike, it’s also a good idea to add a wire leader at the very end of the line, as this eliminates the possibility of a pike biting through the monoline leader, you just added to the braided line.
Can Pike Bite Through Fluorocarbon?
Fluorocarbon lines are another great alternative for monofilament lines because fluoro doesn’t absorb water. This means it has the same strength, sensitivity, and handling below the surface as it does when dry. It feels and acts the same on your first cast as it does on your last.
As with braided line, fluoro line also has a smaller diameter at the same strength of line – which, again, allows for more line on your reel.
This being said, fluoro lines don’t have great shock strength and thus may break on the initial strike. Just bear in mind to use a suitable strength fluoro for pike fishing.
So can pike bite through fluorocarbon line? Although fluoro doesn’t have as low resistance to abrasion as braided line, it’s still not a match for a pike’s razor-sharp teeth.
Is it a good idea to use fluoro when fishing for pike? I would say, it’s actually a great line to use when pike fishing, but you should consider adding a wire leader or at least a heavier fluoro leader at the end of the fishing line.
Can Pike Teeth Hurt Humans?
Pike have a huge jaw and very sharp teeth, which is a good reason to be a bit concerned about them attacking you.
But can the razor-sharp pike teeth hurt a human? After researching this topic, I can conclusively say, that pike attacks are not lethal. However, if they end up the attacking a human, their teeth can create quite the damage. So, I wouldn’t go sticking your fingers in a pike’s mouth.
You may search for pike attack photos on Google and see for yourself – but it gets bloody, so if you have a weak stomach, I wouldn’t recommend it.
There have been some reports of pike attacking swimmers. But humans aren’t a real target for pike, as they don’t usually hunt for prey bigger than 1/3 of themselves.
You can read more about what do northern pike eat in my other article.