Sabre-toothed cat

Sabre-toothed cat

Large, extinct species of cats named after the shape of their large canine teeth.



sabre-toothed cat, tiger, fossil, extinct, Pleistocene, miocene, canine, animal, vertebrates, mammal, predator, apex predator, carnivorous, biology

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Sabre-toothed cat


  • Length: 1,5 m
  • Height: 1 m
  • Length of the head: 30 cm
  • Length of the canines: 18-28 cm
  • Mass: 160-280 kg
  • long canines - They were relatively fragile, therefore probably they were not used for subduing, but for piercing the neck of the captured prey.
  • jaws which could open to a 120 degrees angle - Lions can only open their jaws approximately to a 65 degrees angle. In sabre-toothed cats, the wide jaw opening was necessary because of the long canines.
  • short hind legs
  • powerful forelegs


  • skull
  • ribs
  • spinal column
  • foreleg
  • hind leg
  • long canines - They were relatively fragile, therefore probably they were not used for subduing, but for piercing the neck of the captured prey.




The Smilodon fatalis, or sabre-toothed cat, was an inhabitant of American grasslands. It fed mainly on large ungulates.

Based on the structure of its body, it could have been slower but far stronger and stockier than today’s big cats. It did not chase down its prey, but rather snuck up on them. Sabre-toothed cats quickly struck their prey with their powerful forelegs, and then used their canine teeth to slash their throats and necks.

American sabre-toothed cats became extinct at the end of the last ice age, around 10,000 years ago. According to one theory, Native Americans reached the continent around this time as well. They could have been the reason why sabre-toothed cats became extinct, either because they hunted for the same prey, thus starving the big cats, or because they wiped out these dangerous predators.

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