And even if that mouth doesn’t have teeth, it can still hurt.
Every time I do an education event with a snake and people ask me “can it bite”…this is pretty much my response.
I get asked “Will it bite me?” about a billion times a day (only a slight exaggeration). This is becoming my go-to answer, with “But they’ll only bite if you pet or grab them or make them feel threatened—remember, you are so much bigger than they are—and they’ll usually give you a warning nip to tell you they don’t like what you are doing first. Please don’t try to touch them.” The animals in question are a variety of birds. Unfortunately, the standard response on the part of the public is to try to pet the animal anyways, and then I have to jump in and explain in the politest way possible how disrespectful it is to the animal to insist on touching it when the animal is communicating through lunges and bites that it does NOT want to be pet, and how they are making the animals less likely to want to be near people, which ruins the interactive aviary experience for future visitors. Of course, then I get visitors who wait till they think my back is turned to continue poking at the animal. That’s when I stop being polite. I don’t get it. Why are people so rude to the animals in zoos? They are not performers. You paid to visit their HOME. Be a good guest.