Even though giraffes are definitely not pets, we still think they’re super cute and fascinating creatures. Not only are their necks impressive, but their tongues are, too. Giraffe tongues are longer and stronger than you probably expect. Check out these fun (and funny!) giraffe tongue pictures and learn some interesting tidbits about these wild animals.
Giraffe Tongues Are Purplish Black in Color
The end of a giraffe’s tongue is a purplish black color. The exact reason for this isn’t known, but most experts guess that the extra melanin helps protect it from the sun’s UV rays.
But Wait... The Tops of Giraffe Tongues Are Also Pink!
Even though a giraffe’s tongue looks mostly black, the base of the tongue is actually a light pink color. You can sometimes see both colors if they stick their tongue out far enough, like this cutie.
Their Tongues Are Super Long — 20 Inches!
Giraffe tongues can reach a whopping 18 to 20 inches! Even more amazing — they’re so long that giraffes can actually lick their own eyes and ears! This definitely comes in handy whenever dust or debris blows in there.
It's Used for "Tasteful" Bonding
Like cats, dogs, and many other animals, giraffes also use their tongues as a grooming tool. A mother giraffe will lick her calf and members of a herd will groom each other as a part of socializing.
Giraffe Tongues Earn Gold As Linguistic Athletes
Giraffes have one of the strongest tongues in the animal kingdom, along with chameleons and aardvarks. Wow!
For Giraffes, It's Always Tongue Out Tuesday
Their tongue is considered prehensile, which means it can grab onto things, similar to a monkey’s tail. That’s why they can wrap their tongue around branches and strip off the leaves to eat.
Getting to The Point Helps With Precision
Their tongues taper into a point which gives them even more precision. Just look at that sharp giraffe tongue!
Plus, Every Tongue Has Its Thorn... Protection
Giraffe tongues also have a very thick layer of taste buds as protection from thorns and branches. Those would not be fun to bite into!
They Truly Have Tongue-Twisting Talents
Along with protection, these little papillae on a giraffe’s tongue also help them grip things with their tongue.
Giraffes Rule (and Drool)
These large animals produce super thick saliva, which aids in digesting their food along with protecting their tongue and mouth from any spiky thorns they might eat. How wild is that?
And More — Giraffes Hum!
These tall creatures might seem quiet, but they definitely make noise. You might just not have the ability to hear it. Giraffes communicate with low frequency sounds that are basically a hum. Very cool!
Giraffes'll Have You Tongue Tied
It’s hard not to feel tongue-tied after learning just how cool giraffe tongues are. Their color, length, and strength all help these animals thrive in their natural environment. And, of course, we can help them do that too, by supporting programs that conserve their natural habitats, like the International Fund for Animal Welfare's conservation project.