The Goose Mouth: Anatomy and Function

There have been instances where multiple people have been bitten by the goose mouth, but fortunately, no one has ever lost their life due to a goose bite.

Geese can sometimes display aggression, particularly when humans enter their territory or pose a threat to their nests. While geese don’t have teeth, they can still deliver a powerful bite if they feel threatened.

Just because they do not chew does not mean they do not have a mouth full of weapons, ready to tear apart even the toughest grasses and seeds.

Let us now find out in this article what the goose mouth is comprised of.


Are there Teeth in the Goose Mouth?

Goose Mouth
The Goose Has No Teeth

The goose mouth does not contain teeth because they do not chew their food. Instead, their bills have sawlike edges on the inside called tomia.

The tomia are tiny, evenly spaced, sharp, cone-shaped projections that are made of cartilage. In most cases, they serve as handles for holding food.

Geese have serrated edges on their beaks because they eat slippery foods such as aquatic plants and small fish.

This helps them to grip and consume their food effectively. If not, their food might easily fall out of their mouth, or their money would slip away.

Usually, you can see the tomia when a goose opens its mouth. Sometimes, you can catch a glimpse of them from the side, which is known as a ‘grin patch’.

Some geese have patches on their bills, but not all of them. When they do have patches, they are typically found towards the back half of the bill. The upper bill’s back part slants upwards, revealing the tomia and giving the goose’s beak a sly smile appearance.

However, they don’t appear to be smiling. The tomia in the grin patch functions like a sieve, allowing water to pass through while the goose feeds underwater.


Read also: What is a Baby Goose Called? Facts You Should Know


Are there Teeth on the Tongue of the Goose Mouth?

Goose Mouth
The Tongue in the Goose Mouth Has Sawlike Spikes

Hey, did you notice anything else strange about the goose mouth? The creature has teeth located on its tongue. You do not have to worry; those teeth are not real.

Did you know that geese have tongues with little spikes around the edges, unlike our tongues which are smooth? It is pretty interesting!

The spikes are actually made of cartilage, which is the same material as the tomia. They are tough but also have a bit of flexibility, like the upper part of your ear. The taste buds are quite sharp and they protrude from the tongue at an angle.

Goose tongues have structures that resemble teeth, but they are not classified as true teeth. Yes, that’s correct! Real teeth are made up of dentin and they have a protective layer of enamel.

Additionally, there is a pulp in the centre of the teeth that is filled with blood vessels and nerves.

Tongue tomia is a procedure that is specifically designed to help with shredding food. Geese face a unique challenge when it comes to eating because they are unable to chew their food.

As a result, they need to discover different ways to break down their food and avoid choking without relying on teeth.

That’s when the bill and tongue tomia become important. These structures perform similar tasks as teeth in the goose mouth, but they are not teeth themselves.


Can Goose Chew with their Mouth?

Geese, just like other birds, have the habit of swallowing their food whole. The tongue and beak tomia of birds help to partially break down the food before it is swallowed, but most of it goes down the throat without much damage.

Before reaching the stomach, the food takes a brief pause in the gizzard.

Have you ever noticed geese eating pebbles or sand? Well, there is actually a reason behind it. To aid in digestion, they consume small rocks and sandy soil, which help grind their food in their gizzards.

Geese have a unique way of eating; they swallow their food whole. Instead of chewing, they rely on their gizzards, which are filled with rocks and sand, to break down the food.

The pebbles and food in the gizzard move around, creating a sensation similar to a rocky washing machine. Once the food goes through a few rotations in the gizzard, it gets thoroughly chewed and is now prepared for digestion.

Other birds also use these gizzard stones, not just geese. Scientists have discovered gastroliths, which are stones found in the stomachs of ancient birds and dinosaurs.

The term “gastrolith” comes from the combination of “gastro,” meaning stomach, and “lith,” meaning stone. The gizzard stones work together with the tomia to help the goose “chew” its food.


Read also: What is a Group of Geese Called? Facts About Geese Group


What Do Geese Eat?

  • Roots
  • Shoots
  • Stems
  • Seeds
  • Grass
  • Grain
  • Bulbs
  • Berries
  • Insects
  • Aquatic plants


Read also: The Duck Teeth and Its Mysteries



Geese are often found on farms and some people even choose to have them as pets. If you are taking care of geese, make sure to give them enough clean water and the right kind of food.

If you encounter an angry goose, it’s crucial to keep in mind that running away is not advisable. Geese, just like dogs, tend to chase after you if you start running away from them.

Instead, it would be best for you to slowly back away, making sure to move at an angle, until you have reached a safe distance.

After reading this informative article about the goose mouth, do well to subscribe to our page to receive the latest information on pests, pets, animals, etc.

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