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fishing pole bent over

Get In The Fish! | The Best Fish Finders For Every Scenario And Budget

Although the purists out there will say that any fishing technology other than a rod and reel is unnecessary, fish finders are valuable tools to elevate your fishing experience.

Fish Finders give you a pair of eyes under the water. This gives you valuable insight into structure and feeding patterns that cannot be otherwise known.

We will be going over the best fish finders in several categories. Because your fishing needs will vary, certain options may be better for the job than others.

largemouth bass near wood structure

The fish are there… you just need to find them. Check out our list of the best fish finders in various categories!

These categories include: The best fish finders for kayaking, small boats, ice fishing, those of certain budgets, and more! Use this information to make smart decisions and make investments that best work for your fishing needs.

So, lets’ get started covering all the best fish finders in the categories below!

Best Fish Finders For Kayaks

man paddling fishing kayak at dusk

You may not think about needing a fish finder when kayak fishing, but it’s a great tool to help you locate fish, regardless of boat size.

Many people do not think of using electronics when kayak fishing, but it can be super helpful if you can afford it.

So, here are the best fish finders for kayaks!

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

garmin striker vivid 4cv

The compact Garmin Striker 4cv is a top choice for those fishing from kayaks.

The Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv is the best fish finder for a kayak if you are okay with a smaller screen and more compact design.

These are very small but pack a punch in terms of quality and performance. The Striker 4cv is a great option for smaller kayaks and anglers who want something that takes up less space.

The Striker Vivid 4cv has dual frequency sonar, a water temperature log and graph, and a split-screen zoom, among other features.

Garmin is a leading brand in the space, so going with the Striker is a worthwhile investment for your kayak fishing adventures.


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Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 SplitShot

The Hook Reveal 5 SplitShot from Lowrance is a great choice for kayak fishers who want an easily visible screen that can also be mounted in minutes to stay out of the way when needed.

The Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 SplitShot has a 5-inch waterproof screen that sports a a coating that will help make the screen remain visible even in direct light.

You can also get an installation kit from Lowrance that can be installed in minutes so that the fish finder stays out of your way while kayak fishing.

Lowrance is another established brand, but it tends to be a little more affordable than the others, which is nice.


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Best Fish Finders For Canoes

Canoes generally do not have fish finders on them, but if you like to fish from canoes, it may be a worthwhile investment.

Because there might not be a lot of mounting space or need for one on a canoe, some of the more compact fish finders are best.

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

garmin striker vivid 4cv

Because of its compactness, the Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv makes another appearance as one of the best fish finders for canoes.

Because there is a fair bit of crossover between kayaks and canoes, the Garmin Striker is the best for both.

Because of the compact design and great performance, it can be affixed to your canoe with ease.

Plus, the size allows for a smaller price tag.

This is such a good fish finder, that you will see it again later in the list!



Deeper Pro+ With Smart Sonar

deeper pro smart sonar

The Deeper Pro+ with Smart Sonar is portable and will not take up space inside the canoe, making it a great option for canoe fishing.

One of the more unique offerings is the Deeper Pro + Smart Sonar.

This is a castable fish finder that goes out, maps the area, and uses GPS to give you a good sense of your surroundings.

This is a great canoe option because it is very portable and does not require any mounting or real space in the canoe.

In addition to the built-in GPS, the Deeper Pro+ sports on-shore mapping, a 330-foot cast range and a scanning depth of 260 ft.

It also requires no internet to operate.


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Best Fish Finders For Small Boats

Smaller boats, like those of kayaks and canoes, do not need fish finders designed for bigger rigs. This will be overkill and misuse of resources.

So, knowing what the best fish finders for small boats are, you can make a more informed decision.

Lowrance HOOK2 4x with Bullet Transducer

lowrance hook2 bullet fish finder

HOOK² 4x with Bullet Transducer and GPS Plotter is a great option for small boats with a limited storage space.

If you know you will be in smaller bodies of water in a smaller boat, the Lowrance HOOK2 Bullet is a great option.

This is a portable fish finder that comes in a carrying case with spots for a couple of tackle trays.

The interface is kind of basic, but it has everything you would need on a small boat.

It’s available in screens from 4-12″ and it has an easy-to-use interface with quick access key functions.

It comes with a 1-year warranty and also offers a 5-year upgrade, where you can upgrade to a newer model anytime within a 5-year period for a discounted price.


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Joywee Phiradar

joywee phiradar

The Phiradar from Joywee is a great option for the cost-conscious small-boat fisherman.

If you want to save a bunch of space and money, the Joywee Phiradar is a decent option.

The screen is small and basic (3.5 inches), but it will show contoured bottoms and fish in the water column, which is enough for many anglers.

It has a depth reading of up to 984 ft. as well as a bottom contour and water temperature indicator.

Its strong point is the sonar system that lets the fish finder work well in many types of water and conditions.


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Best Fish Finders Under $500

If you have a moderate budget, but you are still looking for high quality, the $500 and under price range is best.

You can get some excellent fish finders in the $350-500 range. There are even some that fit there that rival the $1000+ fish finders.

Let’s take a look…

Humminbird Helix 5

humminbird helix 5

The Humminbird Helix 5 is one of the best fish finders for under $500, featuring Down Imaging. that gives you timber, brush, rocks and other structure imagery in great detail.

The Helix is Humminbird’s mainstay line, so going with this is a great choice.

It packs a serious punch when it comes to value as it has all that Humminbird is known for, usually under $400.

The screen is not that big (5″), but it has super clear imagery and has sonar systems to provide anything you need on the water.

It has all of the bells and whistles you would expect out of a fish finder at this price range.


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Garmin Striker Plus 7SV

garmin striker plus 7sv

The Garmin Striker Plus 7SV sports a 7″ screen and built-in wi-fi, and comes in just under $500.

The Garmin Striker Plus 7SV is a more expensive and larger fish finder than the other two previously mentioned Garmins.

The 7SV has a more traditional display that has more functions than the other models.

This comes in right around $500 and has a 7-inch, easy-to-use display.

It has built-in wi-fi for access to the ActiveCaptain™ app so you can receive smart notifications as well as the Quickdraw Contours Community. It also allows you to transfer waypoints and provides access to software update alerts.


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Best Fish Finders Under $200

Sometimes, you just need something to get the job done while not breaking the bank.

For those on a budfet, here are the best fish finders under $200.

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

garmin striker vivid 4cv

The Vivid 4cv makes the list again, this time for one of the best fish finders under $200.

This is the third time we have seen the Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv and for good reason. Coming in under $200, this is the best budget, small fish finder on the market.

This fish finder has GPS and enough tools to get the job done without bankrupting your fishing fund.

It travels well, can be found all over the place, and is affordable.

What more could you want?



Lowrance HOOK2 4x

lowrance hook2 bullet fish finder

The HOOK² 4x with Bullet Transducer makes another appearance in the Best Fish Finders under $200 list.

Another repeat mention is the Lowrance HOOK2 4x with Bullet Transducer.

This is one of the only traditionally-shaped fish finders of this size under $200.

It is outfitted with GPS and is considered one of the easiest fish finders to operate.

This is a huge perk, considering it is catered to beginners who are on a budget.



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Best Fish Finders Under $1000

Although there are fish finders over $1000, most of them are overkill or designed for bigger rigs than the usual fishing boat.

Even if you are a hardcore bass angler, for example, you can find proper electronics for under $1000 in cost.

Here are the best fish finders under $1000 that will be worth your while.

Lowrance Elite-9 Ti2

lowrance elite-9 Ti2

The Lowrance Elite-9 Ti2 can display up to 3 inputs on the screen at one time, putting high value fishing information at your fingertips.

Although Lowrance has a reputation for being a more affordable brand, they do have a couple of high-end models.

This is where the Elite-9 Ti2.

It uses active imagining to up to 3 inputs on the screen at once, so you get the most of the information at your disposal.

Features include Lowrance’s highest quality sonar, real-time mapping, an easy-to-use touch screen, and can be integrated with a trolling motor.

This is a little under $1000, but it includes just about anything you need regardless of boat size or fishing endeavors.


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SIMRAD GO7 XSR

simrad GO7 xsr

If luxury is what you are looking for in a fish finder under $1,000, the SIMRAD GO7 XSR fits the bill.

Of all the fish finders today, this is the most like an iPad or tablet because of the quality screen provided.

Not only is the resolution great on the SIMRAD GO7 XSR, but the interface is huge.

This one comes in just under $1000 and makes you feel like you are using a luxurious item.

This is a touch screen fish finder that also comes with a handheld remote so you can switch between interfaces with ease and from any part of the boat.

The touch screen is viewable in the sunlight, has a built-in GPS receiver, and can connect with other mobile devices.


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Best Portable Fish Finder

If you find yourself constantly switching between kayaks, canoes, fishing boats, and anything else, a portable fish finder may be best.

These can be brought on the move and be switched all-around at your choosing.

We have already listed a few great portable fish finders, but here is a couple that has yet to be covered.

Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 PT

humminbird helix 5 g2

Although not necessarily “small,” the Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 PT has a ton of features for a portable fish finder.

Although many portable fish finders can be stuffed in your backpack or pocket, the Hummingbird 5 G2 is one of the more advanced portable options.

The Helix 5 Sonar G2 PT is a fairly large fish finder, but it comes in a portable carrying bag that makes the use quite easy. Plus, you will get more features with this due to the size about other portable options.

It features SwitchFire Sonar, which allows you to choose with the push of a button how your sonar returns appear as it pertains to water depth, temperature and turbulence.

The Dual Beam PLUS Sonar gives you a generous coverage area to identify fish, contours and structure. You can toggle between narrow and wide beam or view them side-by-side.


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Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4

humminbird piranhamax 4

The Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 is a sleek, hand-held fish finder option for those looking for portability and affordability.

If you are looking for a more traditional, hand-held portable fish finder, the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 is a top option.

The PiranhaMAX 4 can easily fit in your tackle box and be temporarily mounted wherever you need it.

Despite being affordable and portable, it has excellent mapping skills and can even find fish up to 600 feet deep.

Features include dual beam sonar, tilt and swivel mounting and a 1-year warranty.


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Best Fish Finders For Crappie

Crappie are super fun fish to catch, and changing your fish finder choice slightly is important. They are smaller than bass and fish finders can be super helpful for pointing them out on the water.

Below are a couple of fish finders that can work with any species, but excel when targeting crappie.



Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro

raymarine dragonfly 7 pro

The Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro provides photo-like images, which can help identify smaller fish like crappie.

Although the Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro is not a huge fish finder, it brings great value to your crappie fishing.

The wide spectrum CHIRP sonar system is great for mapping smaller fish like crappie very clearly and accurately. This, along with some other great features, like built-in wi-fi and online sonar image sharing, makes the Dragonfly 7 Pro fish finder worth checking out.

The Dragonfly 7 generates photo-like sonar images with incredible clarity. It can scan up to 600 ft. deep.

Be aware, though, there are no charts included in the software.


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iBobber Wireless Smart Fish Finder

ibobber wireless smart fish finder

The iBobber Wireless Smart Fish finder can be used in kayaks or small boats and is a great option for crappie fishing.

Another fish finder that is using modern technology and a more unique way to map is the iBobber Wireless Smart Fish Finder.

You may not always be using a boat when crappie fishing, or, if you are, it might be a small Jon boat or kayak.

The iBobber is a fish finder that uses a bobber with simple, sonar technology to move information from the water to the app on your phone. It is super portable and great for crappie fishing.


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Best Fish Finders For Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a unique subset of the fishing culture. When going through ice, you are automatically fighting an uphill battle.

Using a fish finder is crucial to see under the ice and increase your chances of hooking into a great fish.

Garmin LiveScope

garmin livescope fish finder

The Garmin LiveScope is pricey, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better fish finder for ice fishing.

The Garmin LiveScope is the best ice fish finder on the market as it has the necessary technology and protection to accompany you on the ice.

The 9-inch screen is so accurate that you can watch your lure go down into the water column and a fish eat it in real time!

This is probably the most expensive fish finder on the list, but it will also last the longest and bring an incredible user experience.



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Humminbird ICE-55 Color Flasher

humminbrid ice-55 color flasher

The Humminbird ICE-55 Flasher is different than all the other fish finders on this list, but it uses less energy.

If the fancy screens and top-notch fish finders cost a bit too much money, a color flasher may be in the cards.

The Humminbird ICE-55 is a great option for fishing through the cold, hard water.

Reading the information and the lights has a bit of a learning curve, but it is well worth the effort once you master it.

Since there is no screen like the traditional fish finder, this one requires less energy and a totally different way of interpreting the information.



Best Fish Finders With GPS

The better fish finders on the market will be equipped with GPS. This allows you to map bodies of water, mark hotspots, and learn a lot about the area you are in. Here are the best fish finders with GPS!

Humminbird Helix 5

humminbird helix 5

The Helix 5 from Humminbird is a GPS powerhouse, with the ability to store 2500 waypoints.

The Helix 5 has been already featured, and it shows up again for good reason.

This fish finder is outfitted with a fantastic GPS that allows you to store 2500 waypoints, 20,000 track points, and so much more.

You can do a lot with the system, so the investment is well worth it. Along with the GPS, it has a great sonar system and interfaces for ease of use.



Lowrance HDS-Live

lowrance HDS-Live

The HDS-Live is one of Lowrance’s more costly models, but its imaging is top-notch and it features preloaded C-MAP® Contour+ mapping.

The Lowrance HDS-Live is a high-end fish finder outfitted with GPS and active imaging.

These two aspects alone bring a ton of value into the purchase. This is one of Lowrance’s most expensive models, so be prepared to spend some money for those add-ons.

If this is something you can afford, the Lowrance HDS-Live imaging fish finder is an excellent option.


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Closing Thoughts On Best Fish Finders

The fish finder you choose needs to fit your needs, budget, and fishing scenarios.

If you can hit all three of those points, you have found the best option for you!

Listed above are the best fish finders in a number of important categories. We hope you find the one that’s right for you… happy fishing!

wolf howling

Wolves: How Big Do They Get and What Do They Eat?

Few animals cause as much controversy as the wolf.

Their rugged and savage beauty has inspired people throughout the world.

While they’re considered an apex carnivore, their grace in capturing their prey or how they hunt is undeniable.

The wolf has captured imaginations for hundreds of years, however, they are not necessarily favorites of farmers.

While many people love wolves, their are many others that do not. This is especially true for some hunters, and even farmers, who may already be dealing with the damage that deer can do to crops.

Add in the occasional missing livestock animals and it’s easy to see why wolves may not be a farmer’s favorite animal.

However, it’s hard to deny that the wolf (or Canis lupus) has captured the world’s imagination for centuries.

As these wild creatures continue to roam the land, they’ll continue to keep us in awe for more to come.

Wolves have been the inspiration for artists and also prey to those who hunt them, and make up an essential part of the world’s ecology.


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Species of Wolves

Depending on where you live, knowing what wolf species can be found in your area will help if you’re a hunter or a farmer.

Preparing yourself by knowing which species of wolf that may roam your area is essential for protecting your property or helping to thin the pack.

In addition to learning how big the various species of wolves get, you may also be wondering where do wolves live? This list will help you with that question as well.

A question often asked is… how big do wolves get? Well, it depends on the species. But, regardless of species, they all are impressive animals in the wild.

The Grey Wolf

grey wolf

Grey wolf (photo: WikiMedia Commons)

If there’s a standard image for a wolf, then the Grey Wolf (or GRAY wolf) is what goes through many people’s minds.

Grey wolves are massive creatures. Adult grey wolves can stretch from four to six feet long and can weigh from as much as a medium-sized dog at forty pounds, to an impressive one-hundred seventy pounds.

Keep in mind that wolves over a hundred pounds are relatively rare, but it’s possible to see one if you’re in the right area. Grey wolves are found in North America and Eurasia.

And, while these animals are wild, the chances of them attacking you are extremely rare. No matter how Hollywood portrays them, they’d rather keep their distance from you.



The Timber Wolf

Timber Wolf is a general term for three subspecies (Canidae).

The Canidae family is large.

The timber wolf name makes up the Eastern Wolf, Northwestern Wolf, and the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf.

The Eastern wolf is usually found in the Great Lakes area of North America, particularly Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota.

The Eastern wolf can also be found in Ontario, Canada.

These wolves range average around sixty-five pounds and around 32 inches in height.

Northwestern wolves can grow as hefty a one-hundred pounds and can reach an impressive length of five to six feet.

They are usually found in Alaska and Canada.

northern rocky mountain wolf

Northern Rocky Mountain wolf (photo: Wikemedia Commons)

The Northern Rocky Mountain wolf is approximately seventy to one-hundred-fifty pounds.

This species is usually found in the Rocky Mountain area of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

While all Timber wolves have a similar appearance, body structure and coloring will set them apart.

The Red Wolf

The Red Wolf, also known as Canis lupus rufus, is a protected animal covered in the Endangered Species Act.

They will have a reddish tint to their fur.

red wolf

Red wolf (photo: WikeMedia Commons)

Their range is usually limited to Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina and has been seen as far south as Texas.

They are relatively small for a wolf at four feet long and forty to eighty pounds.

They stand about twenty-five inches tall.

The Arctic Wolf

This wolf, Canis lupus arctos, is a subspecies of grey wolf and is one of the enormous wolves around. It can reach five to six feet in length and weigh up to one-hundred sixty pounds.

arctic wolf

Arctic wolf (photo: WikiMedia Commons)

The Arctic wolf lives in the North’s harsh climates like the Arctic Circle in Canada and parts of Greenland.

This area is helpful for the species as they’re rarely hunted and have little fear of humans. Fortunately, a wolf attack is still rare.


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The Eurasian Wolf

These ferocious wolves are legendary in their size. They reach seventy to one-hundred seventy pounds and stand around thirty inches high. They also have a length of five to six feet.

Eurasian wolves are native to Europe and parts of the Soviet Union.

Eurasian wolf (photo: WikiMedia Commons)

Fortunately, they don’t interact with humans but are relatively resilient as they’re hunted heavily.

Their legendary status comes from their reputation that spans as far back as the medieval ages. In those times, an attack on humans was more common than today.






What do Wolves Eat?

Wolves are primarily carnivores (meat-eaters). They prefer to eat larger hoof-type animals like various types of deer, bison, elk, and moose.

Wolves will also hunt and eat smaller animals such as beavers, rabbits, and rodents. These smaller animals will supplement their average dietary needs. Wolves are also known to eat fish, but this isn’t common.

While meat is the main staple of a wolf’s diet, they have been known to eat berries as well. Still, the quantities are relatively small and not considered a dietary need.


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Wolves have a large appetite and can eat up to twenty pounds of meat in a single meal.

While wolves can eat a lot, their eating habits can be feast or famine. So, if they find food, they’ll eat a lot of it. This gorging is especially helpful in sustaining them for the times when they can’t find much to eat.

While wolves are carnivores, they prefer to be as far from humans as possible. They travel in packs that can range for up to a dozen wolves. However, packs aren’t as tight as many would think. Wolves will leave an area if there are no resources and will only seek a new mate if their current one dies.



Wolves have long held a mystique to people around the globe. Their grace and savage beauty have earned them fear and respect, with many hunting them out of need or sport or working to save them.

Though wolves carry with them controversy, their resiliency in surviving in the modern world shows how strong they are and how far they’ve come.

They’ve capturing imaginations worldwide, and many religions around have held them in awe as well as honor.



animal skull on forest floor

What Do We Have Here? | How To Identify Animal Skulls

Have you ever experienced finding animal skulls and bones when you went out for a hike in the mountains or woods?

Hikers often find skulls during Spring and Summer, as animals of all sorts of species die of cold and hunger during winter months.

Skulls may just seem like they’re a piece of junk buried beneath the soil, but they can tell you a lot of information about the kind of animal that the skull came from.

animal skull

Examination of skull size, eye location, teeth and other characteristics can tell you a lot about what type of animal it was.

By examining the size of the skull, as well as its teeth and the position of certain parts, you can distinguish a predator species from a prey species.

You would also be able to tell whether it walked upright or it crawled on all four legs. You can even determine what types of food the animal ate.

So, let’s take a look at some questions Below are some things to consider when trying to identify various mammal skulls.



Location Of Orbits / Eye Sockets

You can tell whether the skull you’re holding belonged to a predator species or a prey species just by looking at certain characteristics of the skull. The key characteristic that you should check is the location or position of the orbits or eye sockets in the skull. 

deer skull

Eye sockets on the sides of a animal skull would imply that it belonged to a preyed upon animal, such as a deer, which has wide peripheral vision that is helpful in watching out for potential predators.

If the orbits or eye sockets are located in front of the skull, then it’s more likely that the animal belonged to a predator species. Having eyes in front means that the animal had binocular vision. This is the kind of vision that gives them depth perception when they survey their surroundings.

Predators need depth perception to figure out the distance of their prey and catch them.



If the orbits or eye sockets are located to the sides of the skull, it’s more likely that what you have in your hands is the skull of an animal which was part of a prey species.

Having eyes to the sides of the skull means the animal had wide peripheral vision. This allows a wide range of view which helps a prey animal watch out for potential threats of any predator trying to make a sneak attack.   


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Location Of Foramen Magnum

You can also tell whether an animal walked upright or on all four legs just by looking at the position or location of its foramen magnum.

The foramen magnum is the hole in the skull through which the spine makes its entry. Based on the position of its foramen magnum, you’d be able to infer how the animal moved. 

If the foramen magnum is located under the skull or at its very bottom, this means that the animal had the ability to walk upright as humans do.



A foramen magnum hole positioned at the bottom of the skull means that the spine entered the bottom of the skull in a vertical position. This can only mean that the animal’s spine was vertical and upright most of the time when it moved. 

foramen magnum

The foramen magnum, as shown here, is where the spine enters the skull, and it’s position can give clues about whether the animal walked upright or on all fours.

Some examples of animals that can walk upright are bears, ostriches, flamingos and gorillas, among others.

If the foramen magnum is located at the back of the skull, this means that the animal most likely roamed the earth on all its four limbs and legs as foxes and dogs do.

A foramen magnum located at the back of the skull reveals that the spine’s entry was in a horizontal manner. This means that the animal’s spine was often parallel to the skull and to the ground most of the time when it moved. This is the kind of skull that most quadrupedal (four-legged) animals have. 



The Teeth

You can identify whether you’re holding the skull of an herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore, based on its teeth.

vampire deer skull

Carnivores will have premolars, molars, canines and incisors, whereas herbivores will have only 2 or 3 of the four types. (skull pictured is a musk deer, also called a vampire deer).



The four major kinds of teeth are canines, premolars, incisors, and molars.

Keep in mind that herbivores have two or three of these types of teeth. On the other hand, all four kinds are found in carnivores. 

  • Premolars: These are bicuspid teeth in mammals. There are usually eight of them. They’re often arranged in pairs on the left and right side of both the upper and the lower jaws. They’re positioned in the middle of canines and molars. Their main function is to cut and grind food. 
  • Molars: These are broad, flat crowns. They’re found behind the premolars. Their primary function is to grind food. 
  • Canines: These are pointed teeth shaped like cones. They’re found in the middle of premolars and incisors. Their primary function is for piercing, and holding the prey. They can also be used as a weapon during a fight. 
  • Incisors: These have sharp edges. They’re found in the front part of the mouth. Their primary function is for cutting, nipping, or gnawing. 

There are also quite prominent differences in teeth amongst carnivores and herbivores.

Most carnivores don’t have gaps in their teeth and their teeth are pointed. On the other hand, herbivores have teeth whose surfaces appear ridged and grinding. There’s a gap with no teeth at all between their cheeks and their jaw front.




Identifying Specific Animals From Their Skull

You can identify specific types of animals just by looking at their skull, although medical researchers use medical scanning machines to detect similarities. 

If the skull you found is just about the size of the thumbnail of an adult, it’s more likely that it belongs to a shrew or a mouse.

cow skull

The size of the skull can provide information about animal type. One bigger than two clinched fists could be a cow, horse or other larger animal.

Rats and moles have skulls about the size of the index finger.

Skulls of rabbits and squirrels would have the length of a thumb.

If you find skulls about the size of two clenched fists, you might be holding the skull of either a fox or a badger. 

If you found a skull bigger in size than the combined size of your two clenched fists, then you might have found the skull of a horse, cow, deer, or sheep.



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Hedgehog Skull

Hedgehogs usually have a row of sharp teeth that are all very similar to each other.

Skulls of hedgehogs are also often found with the spine still intact and connected to the skull.



Rodent Skulls

You can identify rodent skulls by looking at their teeth. They typically have a pair of incisors which can be found in both their upper and lower jaws.

There would also be a gap between the incisors and their cheek teeth. They usually have flat and grinding teeth in their cheeks.

On the other hand, you can distinguish a squirrel skull from the skull of a rat by snout size. A squirrel would have a broader snout than that of a rat.




Mole Skull

Moles typically have a very elongated skull. The length of a mole skull would be about 30 mm. You would find tiny incisors in both jaws. There are usually no gaps behind the incisors.

The other teeth that you’ll find in moles are typically small and pointed. These are usually tightly packed. 



Weasel Skull

Weasels typically have long and flat skulls. A weasel skull which can pass through the average wedding ring.

The skulls of their males are usually larger than those of their females across their various species. Their sizes increase gradually from the stoat, mink, polecat, pine marten, and then the otter skull.

The otter skull would typically have a size of about 10 cm in length. 


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Hare and Rabbit Skull

You can distinguish a rabbit or hare skull from a rodent. Skulls of rabbits and hares typically have a second pair of small incisors. These smaller incisors are usually located in the upper jaws and behind the larger pair of incisors. 

a rabbit skull

Rabbit and hare skulls have prominent incisors, and often a second set as well.

It’s typical for both rabbits and bones to have prominently parallel cheekbones. You would also see something on their cheek teeth that look like blunt oval surfaces.

Hare skulls can also be distinguished from rabbit skulls because they’re usually larger than the latter. Hare skulls also have wide nasal passages.



How To Clean An Animal Skull

If you would like to clean the skulls you found, here are some suggestions on how you can do it:

  • Leave the skulls outside your house. Put them under a flowerpot. Leave just enough gap under the flower pot for beetles to be able to crawl into the insides of the skull.
  • You can whiten the skull by washing and wiping it with hydrogen peroxide. You don’t have to use bleach. It’s better to dilute the hydrogen peroxide a couple of times.
  • You can also lightly boil the skull in a pot containing water with a bit of sodium perborate. The liquid will act as a bleaching solution and clean up the skull nicely.

You can find more information on how to identify specific animal skulls at Boneyard Beetle Works or other similar sites.

ehd cwd dead head deer skull

You never know what you’ll find when hunting, camping or hiking. So, hopefully these tips will give you some clues! (photo credit: Brad Alan).

Conclusion

Skulls have very specific characteristics which can tell you a lot about the kind of animal they are. You’ll know by looking at certain features of the skull whether it was a predator or a prey, whether it walked upright or crawled on four legs, and whether it was a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore. 

So, next time you come across an animal skull while hiking or camping in the woods, do a little investigating and you could learn a whole lot more about what animal it once belonged to!

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