What Animal Has the Longest Tongue in the World?

February 15, 2024

The tongue is one of the most fascinating and diverse features in nature, but its remarkable length is not random — it serves specific and vital purposes. From hunting to feeding, we’ve discovered 13 of the most remarkable animals with exceptionally long tongues.

A long tongue is an essential tool for animals that hunt and feed on insects, such as hummingbirds, certain types of bats, and anteaters. These creatures have elongated tongues that can easily access nectar deep within flowers or extract ants and termites from nests. Similarly, the long, sticky tongues of pangolins, the world’s only scaled mammals, are ideal for capturing ants and termites from underground burrows and insect mounds.

Another example is the woodpecker, whose long tongue can reach far down into trees to fish for insects and extract seeds. A surprisingly powerful force, the woodpecker’s tongue can withstand up to 175 pounds of pressure and extends over two feet when fully extended.

The giraffe is famous for its six-foot-long neck, but its tongue is just as impressive. This prehensile appendage can be up to fourteen inches long and is a key component in the giraffe’s strategy for gathering leaves and buds from low-hanging vegetation in its forest habitat. The okapi, which bears a striking resemblance to both a giraffe and a zebra, also has an amazingly long tongue. Approximately a third of its body length, the okapi’s tongue allows it to strip leaves from treetop branches and access twigs and other low-hanging vegetation in Central Africa.

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