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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
For humans, tongues help us talk, and taste, chew and swallow our food.
Other animals have tongues that have evolved to do other work, like dig through deep tunnels, navigate through dangerous environments and trap their prey.
- The spit on anteaters’ tongues is extra sticky, helping them catch ants and termites to eat.
- Giant anteaters’ tongues are really long and super fast — they can flick their two-feet-long tongues 150 times in one minute.
- Anteaters stick their long, skinny tongues into tunnels dug by tasty ants and termites to grab them and get them to their mouths.
- Despite being the smallest species of bear, sun bears have the longest tongues of all bears. While being about the size of an average 10-year-old kid, they have tongues that are almost 10 inches long.
- Sun bears use their long tongues to slurp honey out of active beehives. The bees fight back, but often end up eaten, too, despite stinging the bear’s tongue.
- In additional to their long necks, giraffes have pretty long tongues — on average their tongues are about 20 inches long. They’re also usually black, blue or purple.
- Giraffes’ tongues are prehensile, meaning they can move and grab things, similar to an elephant’s trunk. This lets giraffes move around thorns and grab tasty leaves from trees without getting pricked.