Does Catfish Have Teeth? [5 Killer Answers]

Does catfish have teeth? Yes, they do. Catfish have teeth, however, they do not have conventional teeth. Catfish possess hundreds of cardiform teeth. These tiny teeth create rough sandpaper textures in the mouth of the catfish.

They are equipped with unique whiskers on their face and sensory receptors on their bodies. Catfish are among the fish that are the most adaptive species in the world. 

Catfish can thrive in conditions that most marine creatures are not able to. They consume an all-omnivorous diet consisting of clams, snails, small fish, aquatic insects, and other sea creatures that, like them, live in rivers, streams, ponds, and reservoirs.

Do Catfish Have Teeth? Catfish is among the most adaptable species of fish found anywhere in the world. They are able to survive in environments that other fish species can’t. 

They can be found in streams and rivers as well as reservoirs, ponds, and ponds and feed mostly on small reptiles, fish such as lizards, aquatic bugs, and other small animals.

Catfish do not have the scales regular fish possess, and have barbels on their faces instead, which allow them to smell, taste, and hunt for food when there’s little or any visibility within the waters. 

The head of a catfish is also slightly odd in comparison to the regular fish. If you’ve ever taken a picture of one and then looked inside the mouth of the fish, you may be surprised to discover it’s empty. Based on the pictures you’ve seen it’s likely that it doesn’t have teeth. So, do catfish have teeth?

Does Catfish Have Teeth?

do catfish have teeth
Do Catfish Have Teeth?

Catfish are known to have some tooth structure however they are not traditional, or something you’re thinking of. Contrary to most predators that have large teeth and sharp incisors Catfish teeth are small and heavy, and are referred to as cardiform. There are hundreds of cardiform teeth present inside their mouths. Catfish mouths typically are rough and sandpapery because of the tiny tooth card forms.

The standard method of feeding juvenile catfish is to suck up algae and plant material and then eat the resulting food. Fish species which are larger like flathead catfish are able to suction small fish like minnows, and then crush them. These cardiform teeth are present throughout the catfish species.

Do All Species of Catfish Have Teeth?

Catfish typically consume food by sucking plants and algae before eating it. Some species of catfish larger like flathead catfish will take smaller fish like minnows, and then crush them. Catfish of all species share the same cardiform teeth.

Why Do Catfish Have Teeth?

The teeth of the cardiform help cats grind their food. Since catfish typically live in mud, they primarily consume frogs and crayfish, and other less meaty creatures, so there’s no reason for them to possess incisors and molars.

When it comes to big predators, a line of teeth is usually found along the front and sides of their jaws. They use their teeth to bite into flesh. Catfish, on the contrary, eats its prey completely and therefore doesn’t require cutting it into pieces before consuming it. 

They are armed with a number of tiny teeth that are used to grasp things. The primary function of tooth structures is making foods easier for swallowing by aiding in controlling and turning the food so that the food is facing the lengthways.

What Do Catfish Teeth Look Like?

The catfish’s cardiform teeth look similar to incredibly thin strands of bristle brushes. The mouth and throat of the catfish are covered with bristle-like sharp edges. The catfish’s teeth are curved to the inside to aid in keeping food in their jaws.

It’s not true that they’re huge and have robust teeth, as they’re omnivores and consume an array of different foods. 

Catfish suckers and gulp instead of gnawing when they consume. Their teeth are tiny and brittle, and they are as hard as sandpaper. 

Additionally, they tend to tilt towards the inside instead of facing out. Thus, when they feast on their food, fish utilize their unique teeth to stop their prey from fleeing from their mouths. 

Because they’re slanted towards the back which makes it simpler for the victims to go into the mouth of a catfish but it is difficult to exit.

How Many Teeth Do Catfish Have?

In their back mouth, they are armed with rows of teeth. The number of teeth in a catfish can be different depending on the species of catfish. 

There are around three thousand species of catfish all over the globe, therefore make aware that this is generally applicable to all. 

For instance, the Goonch catfish example is home to the teeth of four rows, each containing hundreds of teeth. Certain species may have smaller teeth.

How Do Catfish Eat Their Food?

Being omnivores, who prefer sucking and swallowing, rather than chewing, cats do not utilize their teeth to catch their prey. 

This is the reason why the notion that they don’t have teeth comes from. Catfish generally suck up their prey using an oblique motion, before swallowing it down. This is why many people believe they don’t have teeth.

Are Catfish Teeth Sharp?

Catfish teeth might not be necessary for capturing prey however that doesn’t suggest that they’re boring and ineffective. The rows of teeth cats have in their mouths are extremely sharp and can cause injury to prey or even people who are looking for their teeth.

These teeth are dull, however lightweight they might be, and could still harm you when you’re playing. Noodling can be a different matter as compared to accidentally getting your skin grazed while unhooking the catfish. 

Catfish are able to clamp their teeth when they noodle in an attempt to escape. Goonch fish, for instance, have razor-sharp teeth that can easily penetrate the skin, which makes them a deadly predator. However, the quality of teeth is different based on what species it is.

Does a Catfish Bite?

Anatomically, catfish don’t bite since their teeth aren’t made for it. It’s because their teeth are uneven and it is difficult to bite anyone. Their teeth are tiny and usually safe. 

However, if a fish were to strike you There’s a good possibility that it wouldn’t injure the skin and isn’t likely to cause serious injuries as well.

They don’t have teeth like incisors or canines. So the bite of a catfish is more likely to cause the finger or hand to feel as if they’re being pressed against. 

You’re not likely to get your skin damaged through a bite from a catfish, however, it may leave a rough, scratched area on your body. If it occurs, all you need to do is scrub the area and then cover the area. The skin will begin to heal itself on its own.

Can Catfish Bite You?

The structure of the catfish’s teeth doesn’t permit them to bite. The catfish’s butt could hurt the skin, but it isn’t likely to cause major injury that requires medical care. 

The reason is that they’ve lost their teeth inside, making it difficult to bite someone. If you place your fingers into the mouth of a catfish it won’t bite. The teeth of catfish are vital and safe.

Can a Catfish Bite Your Finger Off?

Do you think a catfish can eat your finger? If you look at the nature of their teeth it is not possible. There are numerous catfish species and they’re anatomically identical. 

They can inflict pain to the skin or scratch it, and even cause it to bleed, but they aren’t likely to cause enough harm to cause injury that it is considered to be dangerous.

Do Catfish Have Venom?

Another popular question apart from whether catfish have teeth, is whether they are toxic to humans?

Yes, certain catfish contain venom that is present in their spinal cords in certain parts that are part of their fins. 

If you happen to inflict a bite on yourself through the poisonous wings, you’ll be in extreme discomfort, and if you don’t clean the wound as quickly as possible it could cause an infection, just like any other wound. But it is crucial to remember that catfish venom isn’t necessarily fatal to humans.

There are also stories of a species of catfish that is found in the Indian Ocean and contains the most poisonous venom which could kill humans. This shouldn’t worry you since it’s one of the rare species to live throughout the Indian Ocean. 

The majority of freshwater carcasses are anglerfish cats. It is therefore likely that you’ll meet this kind of fish. There are a few thousand catfish species all over the globe, but a substantial amount of them are not harmful to humans.

Is Noodling For Catfish Safe?

Noodling for catfish is essentially fishing for catfish using your hands. Simply put your hand into a hole, and then catch the cat by putting your mouth in it.

The answer to this question is dependent on the definition you have of safe. Like all sports, there’s a certain level of risk when fishing to catch catfish

Being a swimmer with a high level of skill is the most important prerequisite for a catfish noodler. When the mouth of the catfish is fixed to your hand it’s unlikely to release and there could be other risks involved.

It is also essential to know whether the object you see in the water is a turtle, catfish snake, or mammal, such as an otter or a beaver. Get advice from others and read informative articles and get familiar with the area.

The fish, as it is in its native habitat, is superior to humans, who must be able to climb to the surface, while struggling with river flows and slippery mud. Many fishermen have had to struggle to get a bigger fish and sought help from other fishermen. There are so many ways to ensure your safety.

  • Know your limitations. How do you feel about the ocean?
  • Make sure to stay in shallow water. Knee deep is best.
  • Be aware of what a catfish is like when it is submerged.
  • Always keep a friend.
  • Be aware of the waterway.
  • If you feel it is unsafe If it feels unsafe, stop doing it.

Can You Grab a Catfish In The Mouth?

Can You Hold a Catfish By The Mouth? It is certainly possible to hold a catfish by the mouth. With smaller catfish, many anglers like to hold the catfish with their hands wrapped around their body as explained previously since this assists in controlling the fish and reduces the chance of being finned.

How to Safely Handle a Catfish

As I stated earlier, catfish may be the most dangerous fish when fishing in freshwater. Teeth (usually) aren’t an issue for catfish however there is a bit of risk within the shells. Here are some guidelines to help you manage catfish in a safe manner.

Smaller Catfish Can Be More Dangerous

First off, catfish in the 1-3-pound range can cause more trouble because they are equipped with sharp barbs. They also are smaller, meaning that your hand is closer in the water to your shell.

This is due in large part to barbs being more powerful. Large catfish have massive tiny barbs that don’t even penetrate the skin. Catfish with larger sizes have stronger jaws, which means you need to be wary of them.

How to Treat a Catfish “Bite”

If you are noodled, you may get bitten by catfish. It is possible to get a bit from contact with the fish. Personally, I wouldn’t consider catfish bites as a major issue because cuts don’t usually bleed. If you notice an area of bleeding that is caused by the bite you must be able to treat it. Here are some suggestions to treat “bite” catfish.

Make Use of Antiseptics.

I always wrap my hands in antiseptic whenever an animal bites my skin. If the bite doesn’t cause damage to the skin layer, there’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s quite like the thumb of the boss.

It is Often Washed.

I also like washing my cut regularly with fresh water. This helps prevent dirt from getting in. However, I prefer to wait until the skin is dry. If you wash it prior to that you cut it, your wound will take longer to heal.

It only takes some time to remove it. It’s a good moment to have lunch or change locations.

Take Care When Handling Bait.

The most commonly used method to make dirt part of your harvest is by handling the band. Usually, I’d wait for my hands to be cut before I put my hook on. It’s annoying but it’s only just a few minutes. Some anglers prefer using bonds. But, because of water and reefs, slaves don’t work as well when fishing.

If you’re not able to wait to catch your hook, you should avoid putting any juice into the wound.


That’s exactly the thing that catfish teeth are about. Catfish do have teeth, however, they are so tiny that they’re not a problem for fishermen. Fishermen are so worried about the teeth of catfish that some are known to close their eyes to the holes in which catfish live to catch fish with their mouths. This is known as noodling.

Catfish are a major threat to our health. are the poisonous Barbies that adorn their wings. Peels can be painful if you cut your skin, but aren’t going to cause any harm to your life. You don’t have to worry about your teeth or thorns!

If you’ve never handled catfish before, and you intend to try, learn to do it right.

This is particularly important when you are practicing catch and release. In this case, the proper and gentle handling is vital for you as well as the fish. Always be aware of the fish by reading trustworthy sources or asking knowledgeable anglers for advice.

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding catfish, which can lead people to turn off the fishing catfish. There is nothing particularly hazardous or life-threatening in fishing for catfish.


Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.

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