Sea urchins eat using a structure called “Aristotle’s lantern,” which is made up of five bony plates that support their continuously growing teeth. They use their beak-like mouth the scrape rocks clean of algae and grind up the occasional mussel.
Like horses, rabbits and rodents, the sea urchin’s teeth continue to grow throughout their life. By the action of chewing and grinding their food, the teeth are ground down over time. Like many of these other species, urchins can develop overgrown teeth.
In early November, our Veterinary Fellow Colin McDermott performed a successful trimming on one of our Living Seashore urchins. The procedure was performed with a rotary tool.
Our Animal Health team has been keeping a close eye on the urchin since performing the tooth trim and we’re happy to report the animal is recovering well!
Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes updates!