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9 Amazing Facts About Animal Tongues

Learn all about animals that own some of the most amazing tongues in the world!

Think all tongues look the same? Not in the animal kingdom! There are tongues that soak up liquid like mops. Or tongues that can stick out 160 times a minute like a jackhammer. First, let's have a look at some awesome records:

The Longest Tongues in the World:

AnimalTongue LengthBody Length
Chameleon 47.2 inches (120 cm) 23.6 inches (60 cm)
Giant Pangolin 27.5 inches (70 cm) 39.3 inches (100 cm)
Giraffe 21.2 inches (54 cm) 236 inches (600 cm)
Sun Bear 9.84 inches (25 cm) 55.1 inches (140 cm)
Tube-Lipped Nectar Bat 3.3 inches (8.5 cm) 1.9 inches (5 cm)
Lungless Salamander 1.9 inches (5 cm) 2.3 inches (6 cm)

For comparison: the longest human tongue is 3.7 inches (9.5 cm) long.

Amazing Tongues All Over the World




Category: Slingshot

The most famous tongue in the world belongs to one of the most colorful animals in the world: the chameleon. In relation to their body size, it’s the longest tongue in the world. It’s twice as long as the animal itself (including its tail). Within a fraction of a second, it’s flung towards prey like a rubber band. The insect is stuck and the chameleon just has to “reel it in”. Imagine if humans had tongues like that. The sugar from the next table over at a café - sluuurp! Or the chips straight out of the bag while watching TV - sluuurp!

Chameleon Chameleon - Photo: Cathy Keifer/Shutterstock



Category: Washcloth


If your eyes sting or itch, you stretch your hand out and rub them with your fingers. Not so great if you happen to be a giraffe with hooves instead of fingers. But it’s not too bad, just stick your tongue out. It’s 21 inches (54 cm) long and can easily reach a stressed eye. The giraffe’s dark blue to black tongue is so hard-wearing that not even the prickliest acacia leaves a wound when the giraffe wraps its tongue around the leaves.

Giraffe Giraffe - Photo: Nagel Photography/Shutterstock



Category: Mop

The mammal with the longest, and funniest, tongue is the bat anoura fistulata. They grow to just 2 inches (5 cm) long but their tongues grow to 3.3 inches (8.5 cm). These bats slurp sweet nectar out of deep flowers as a tasty snack. And you couldn’t do that without a tongue! The nectar has to reach the mouth somehow, so the bat has small, fine hairs at the tip of its tongue. They soak up the nectar like a mop. Bon appetit!

Bat Bat - Photo: Gucio_55/Shutterstock


Pupils are welcome to use this information at school for animal profiles, fact sheets, essays, work sheets, presentations, posters or homework. All information appearing on this site has been precisely and thoroughly researched, nevertheless should you notice any errors, please do notify us via email.

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