20 Animals With The Craziest Tongues

1 year ago
From small bears with big tongues … to giraffes and massive marine mammals … here are 20 animals with the craziest tongues

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#7 Frogs
These amphibians are easily identifiable by their stout, squat bodies, protruding eyes, and for their long, cleft tongues. They actually do have small teeth along the upper jaw which are used to hold food. But the teeth are too weak for chewing or for catching prey. So, the frog uses its sticky tongue to catch flies and other prey from out of the air. Normally coiled in the mouth, the tongue can be shot out of the frog’s mouth at great speeds. Did you know that the frog must line itself up precisely before commencing its attack? That because the critter shuts its eyes when it launches its tongue … kind of like shooting with its eyes closed.

#6 Giraffes
They’re best known for their elongated necks … but it turns out that’s not the only thing that is elongated with giraffes. Their tongues are prehensile, and tough enough to grasp foliage,
including trees with sharp thorns. At some 18 inches long, the appendage is long enough to reach the upper branches … and is also used for cleaning out their nose. Aside from the unusual length, the giraffe tongue has another odd trait -- its coloration is purplish black. Experts think the dark pigmentation might serve to protect it from sunburn.

#5 Fowl Mouth - Goose
Geese look relatively harmless, but their tongues have spikes and hairs, giving the appendage a serrated appearance. The projections allow the bird to use its tongue as a sieve, straining food particles from the water … a similar process is used by baleen whales. Geese can also use their tongue to grip food … they can eat grass by holding it between the tongue and the roof of the mouth.

#4 Giant Anteater
Native to Central and South America, this is the largest species of anteater, and can weigh around 90 pounds while measuring more than 7 feet long. Mostly terrestrial, they use their claws to dig up ants and termites … then employ their long, slender adhesive tongues to collect the prey. Those tongues can measure some 24 inches long … and while feeding, the tongue can project in and out of its elongated snout around 160 times a minute (or about 3 times per second). At full extension, it can reach around 18 inches (or longer than the length of the animal’s skull). Did you know their tongue is anchored directly to their sternum?

#3 Chameleons
These lizards have several unusual physical characteristics … from their bulging, independently mobile eyes, to their color-changing skin, to their seriously long tongues. Experts say that smaller species of chameleons (in particular) have tongues that are up to twice their body length (excluding the tail). They can project their tongues at high rates of speed that reach and capture prey in as little as 0.07 seconds. Along with their ballistic tongues, the creatures carry a sticky saliva that’s about 400 times more viscous than humans … and that helps them capture prey around a third as heavy as the chameleon itself.

#2 Okapi
It has zebra like stripes, but it’s actually the closest living relative to the giraffe. Both species have the trademark long neck … and the trademark long tongue. Like their larger relative, okapis also have a tongue that goes around 18 inches long, and has a similar dark coloration. They use the tongue to pluck leaves and buds off trees, browse for plants, and to groom their eyes and ears. Did you know that at one time the Okapi was considered a myth … and was called the African Unicorn?

#1 Sun Bear
These creatures found in Southeast Asia are actually the smallest species of bear … they weigh around 180 pounds and measure about 59 inches long. They’re identified by a couple of interesting physical characteristics -- a crest on the sides of the neck, and a whorl in the center of the chest. And a very long tongue that goes nearly 10 inches long. The protrusible instrument is used during feeding times to extract honey and insects. Even though they’re the smallest extant species of bear, they do have the longest tongues in their family.

20 Animals With The Craziest Tongues

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