Amazing facts about wild animal's tongues

Picture of a red panda with it's tongue out.

Variety of animal tongues 

In the animal realm a wide variety of amazing tongues can be found.

Consider the forked tongue of the snake.

Picture of a jungle corn snake.

Some persons believe that a poisonous snake bites with its flicking tongue, thereby pouring poison into its victim, but such is not the case.

It uses its teeth for that purpose.

Besides being forked, the tongue of a snake is narrow and very sensitive.

The snake will put it out of its mouth from time to time to feel the air.

Then when it touches the sense cavities or so-called Jacobson’s organ in the roof of its mouth with the tip of its tongue, the scent molecules from the air, which have stuck to the tongue, give it a sense of smell.

A tongue for smelling?

Yes, the snakes have it.

They even have a sheath into which the tongue may be withdrawn so that it will not become damaged when not in use.

The chameleon has a specialized, telescopic tongue that is exceptionally long for its size.

Patiently and slowly this little creature will approach its potential meal until it has come close enough.

Chameleon tongue.

Then, fast as lightning, it shoots its tongue out and the insect taste-treat is stuck to it.

Rather similarly, most frogs have a long, protruding tongue that they use like a flyswatter to catch insects.

Ant bears or anteaters are champions when it comes to a fast draw with the tongue.

Picture of an anteater.

When they tear open a termite nest with their powerful claws, then, so quickly that it can hardly be seen, their tongue starts to work.

Their nose is long, and the tongue comes out of the mouth like a shot from a blowgun.

It is long, fast-moving, and covered with a sticky substance.

So, all the anteater has to do is draw its tongue back into its mouth and the termites that have stuck to it are drawn in for a tasty meal.

Birds also have remarkably tongues.

Picture of a seagull with it's tongue out.

For example, the woodpecker has a tongue with a barbed and slimy tip ideally suited for snaring and withdrawing grubs from decaying trees.

Then there is the beautiful little hummingbird that uses its amazing tongue like a drinking straw!

Picture of a hummingbird.

For its drinks of nectar it flies from flower to flower.

Though a very small bird, some species measuring only two and a half to three inches from the tip of the bill to the tip of the tail, it is heavy enough so that frail flowers cannot hold its weight.

So it hovers close by the flower, using its long, slender tongue to draw out the sweet liquid by the suction method.

The bloodsucking lamprey, an eellike fish that lives on the Mediterranean and North Atlantic coasts, has a remarkable tongue.

It is a strong muscle covered with horny membrane.

This the lamprey uses like a suction pump to anchor itself to rocks or attach itself to other fish to suck nourishment from them.

Vegetation eaters like the giraffe also have marvelously tongues.

Picture of a giraffe with it's tongue out.

The tongue of the giraffe may be as long as twenty inches and can quickly curl around and tear off leafy material for consumption.

The prize for the biggest tongue of all must go to the whale.

It has been reported that the tongue of a one-hundred-foot blue whale can weigh 6,600 pounds.

In fact, the tongue of one eighty-nine-foot-long blue whale, when weighed with its roots, was about as heavy as an average-size elephant.

Imagine the strength it takes to move a tongue like that!

Wild animal's tongues are also used for hunting, sucking, scraping and tearing, cleaning and first aid.