Do carp have teeth and do carp bite humans? Many beginner anglers assume that carp don’t have any teeth as they aren’t visible. This is actually dangerous as thinking carp don’t bite can make some quite careless when unhooking and handling the fish. This leads to injuries.
So, do they really bite? Carp won’t bite us unless we stick our fingers down their throats. The teeth of carp are located in the back of their throats. Although their teeth aren’t that sharp, they are still strong enough to bleed you out as they use their teeth to grind their food.
In this post, we’ll give you some of the best ways to handle carp safely in order to eliminate the risk of sustaining injuries when handling fish.
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Do Carp Bite Humans and What’s the Use of Their Teeth?
We already answered the question, do carp bite humans? They don’t unless you’re sucked into their mouths. Carp have fairly strong teeth, referred to as pharyngeal teeth as they are located in the pharyngeal arches of the suckers’ throats.
They’re not the sharpest of teeth. As a matter of fact, they are flat and rounded compared to the teeth of humans. The number of teeth can also vary among species.
Carp fish are considered omnivores, which means they don’t need a sharp set of teeth as they primarily feed on insects and aquatic plants. Carp are suckers.
They mostly suck then gulp their food rather than biting it. They use their pharyngeal teeth in chewing and grinding their food as it reaches their throats.
Can I Still Get Injured from Carp Teeth?
Yes, it’s possible when you reach down the mouth of a carp with your bare hands. Unless the fish has a disease, the injury won’t be dangerous as carp teeth aren’t very sharp.
Just rinse the wounds with fresh, clean water. Apply antiseptic then dress the wounds to prevent getting an infection.
You may be bleeding. If that’s the case, apply some pressure on your wounds using a clean cloth or bandage. When the bleeding stops, rinse the wounds with water.
What Are the Best Ways to Handle Carp?
Do carp bite humans? Not intentionally, which means you should still be very careful whenever you’re handling the fish or using a carp fishing bait.
Here are tips to follow for handling carp fish correctly after landing it:
- Apply equal pressure onto the body of the carp when you’re holding it and trying to lift the fish from the water.
- Keep your grasp firm as you’re holding the carp. It should be secure on both of your hands and don’t let the fish squirm as you’re gripping it.
- Try to hold the carp vertically with the mouth towards the sky and the tail pointing towards the ground. The position will help reduce pressure on the jaw of the fish from its body weight.
- Ensure that your thumb is placed within the carp’s mouth. This is to keep a firm grasp of the bottom lip. The rest of your fingers should be pressed against the outside part of the fish’s mouth.
- If you prefer holding the carp horizontally, use both hands for support. You need to make sure that one hand is supporting the head of the carp while the other is on the tail. This makes it easier for you to lift the fish and avoid injuries.
- It’s best to get a lip gripping tool as it will allow you to securely lift the carp on the lip. The tool will let you inspect the fish and release it (for catch-and-release fishing) back to the water without hurting it or causing a fatal injury to the fish. A lip gripping tool will also let you handle the fish without placing both of your hands directly on it.
- Whenever you are releasing fish back on the water, you need to make sure that you lower it close to the surface. Slowly loosen your grip as you’re letting the fish go. Avoid tossing the fish too quickly. Just let it move and slip from your grasp smoothly.
Steps to Unhook Carp Safely
It’s absolutely important to follow the correct steps in removing hooks from carps safely. Don’t reach down to their throats, most especially with your bare hands.
Here are the crucial steps to follow in order to unhook carp safely without causing harm both to you and the fish:
Step 1: Position the fish vertically, making sure its mouth is facing up in the sky with the tail pointing to the ground.
Step 2: Lay the fish on the boat floor or ground if it is too heavy for you to hold using one hand. Then, prop the head up and only pick carp up by its lip or gills. If you’ll be lipping the carp, it’s recommended that you wear a pair of thick fishing gloves in order to avoid injuries.
Step 3: Using your free hand, use fishing pliers to grip the eye of your hook that’s on the carp’s lip or mouth.
Step 4: As you get a solid grip on the hook’s eye with your pliers, slowly roll the eye towards the point of the hook.
Step 5: As the hook begins to yank from the lip of the carp, twist the point then pull the hook out.
If you want a visual guide, it’s best to check out videos on the internet on how to unhook carp correctly.
As carp are found in most waterways in North America with some of them quite massive, you’re surely bound to run into some. Follow the tips mentioned above and be sure not to stick your hands into their mouths, especially the throat.
If you’re worried about stepping foot into water with a huge carp population, don’t worry as they won’t bite intentionally! Still, it would be best to take proper precautions.