What Animal Has the Longest Tongue?

February 14, 2024

When people think of animals with long tongues, they often imagine a lizard or a snake. But did you know that some mammals have exceptionally long tongues? In fact, some can reach twice as long as their body. In terms of relative length, the Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is the most likely mammal to have the longest tongue. This land mammal licks ants and termites off trees with its specialized tongue that can reach up to two feet in length.

Giraffes are another animal that has a remarkably long tongue for its body size. Its tongue is also a prehensile appendage, meaning it has fine muscular control so that it can hold objects. This enables the long-necked herbivore to selectively pluck leaves from the tips of trees and avoid the thorns found in some of its favorite feeding spots.

Woodpeckers are another species that has an extraordinarily long tongue for its body size. These birds rely on their tongues to capture insects in the cracks and crevices of tree bark. Their tongues are not only long but they’re barbed and coated in glue-like saliva, which makes them particularly effective hunters.

The okapi, which is native to the rainforests of Africa, has an extremely long tongue that reaches over two feet in length. This prehensile tongue is a key tool in securing the leaves and fruit necessary for the solitary creature’s survival. The okapi’s tongue also helps it to eat fungi and extract minerals from the soil.

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