Which Animals Have a Mouth but Can't Chew?


Quick Answer

Animals that have a mouth but can't chew include lampreys, sea cucumbers, giant anteaters, earthworms and pangolins. Some of these animals specialize in small prey that they swallow whole and then allow their digestive systems to process.

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Full Answer

The giant anteater is found in Central America and in central and northern South America. Its mouth is a long tube that widens into its face. It has tiny eyes and ears but large forelimbs and formidable claws with which it rips open ant and termite colonies. It then uses its sticky tongue to lap up the insects.

A pangolin is an animal that uses the same kind of techniques as an anteater, but it's covered with overlapping scales. The pangolin is found in southern Africa and tropical Asia.

Lampreys are primitive, eel-like fish. Their mouths are filled with concentric rows of teeth. To feed, they attach themselves to another fish, open a wound and suck out the bodily fluids. Lampreys can be found in both fresh and salt water.

Sea cucumbers feed on debris found on the ocean floor. Earthworms are essentially one long digestive tube that runs from the mouth to the anus. They eat both living and dead material found in the soil.

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