Saber-toothed cat

Saber-toothed cat

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



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

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Saber-toothed cat

  • Length: 1,5 m (4.921 ft)
  • Height: 1 m (3.281 ft)
  • Length of the head: 30 cm (11.81 in)
  • Length of the canines: 18-28 cm (7.09-11.02 in)
  • Mass: 160-280 kg (352.7-617.3 lb)
  • - Lions can only open their jaws approximately to a 65 degrees angle. In saber-toothed cats, the wide jaw opening was necessary because of the long canines.


The Smilodon fatalis, or saber-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 sneaked up on them. Saber-toothed cats quickly struck their prey with their powerful forelegs, and then used their canine teeth to slash their throats and necks.

American saber-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 saber-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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