Perhaps the most well-known and universally recognizable attributes of a vampire are the creature’s modified upper maxillary canines, otherwise known as its fangs. This physical asset is the primary tool used by the undead to feed upon its prey. Although a vampire’s fangs are renowned even among individuals with limited vampire knowledge, they are still often misunderstood in their application.. All mammals are equipped with what are known as cuspids, or “eye-teeth” for their position over the eyes. Longer and pointier than the neighboring incisors, their length and shape denote a singular purpose – to firmly retain prey and tear it apart. Although humans have evolved to a point where the cuspids are barely distinguishable from the adjoining teeth, in other species such as tigers, wolves, and bears, the canines continue to serve their much needed purpose in the wild.
While it may appear that a vampire’s fangs are an evolution of the creature from its Homo sapien form, it is more accurately stated that upon conversion, the human de-evolves, returning to a more primal state where sharp canines are an essential factor to its hunting ability. Approximately six to eight millimeters longer than standard human canines, the teeth themselves do not extend or retract as commonly depicted in the media, nor are they hollow like the fangs of a poisonous serpent.
Like other predatory animals, a vampire’s fangs are ever-present, although some members of the species may use dental prosthetics to mask their pronounced length in order to blend further into human society. Their application is similar to the use of the canines by a wild animal – to secure its victim and tear at the flesh in order to cause extensive soft tissue damage, with the goal of opening a major artery. Once a primary bloodline has been accessed, the vampire will draw from the open wound into its throat, not siphoning through the fangs themselves. While there are some rumors that the bacterial compounds that cause human conversion originate from a vampire’s fangs, this has not yet been verified through any formal laboratory analysis.