The natural world is filled with all sorts of flamboyantly bizarre creatures, but some animals are better at hiding their secret weirdness than others. Hiding inside some of their mouths are outrageous tongues, ones so crazy that it would probably change some peoples perspectives about the animal if they were to find out exactly what they do with said tongues. Some of the strangest tongues in nature include ones that are serrated, tongues that have developed unique abilities, and even some that are longer than the animal itself.
These odd animal tongues have evolved to perform all sorts of specific tasks, but that doesn’t make them any less unsettling. Even relatively harmless animals can quickly become terrifying as soon as they open their mouths. Tongues can sometimes seem gross and slimy, but they are essential organs that can make all the difference when it comes to an animals chances of survival. These are some of the craziest, most extreme, and most unique tongues in the animal kingdom.
The Alligator Snapping Turtle Has A Lure For A Tongue
This horrifying river monster is the alligator snapping turtle, a creature that truly lives up to its name. It's bright-pink tongue is designed to look like a small worm, a tantalizing morsel to any fish that may be passing by. Once something swims closer to investigate, the turtle will snap it’s powerful jaws shut and eviscerate anything unlucky enough to have been fooled by it’s tongue. This American species is the largest freshwater turtle on earth, and can grow to an impressive 175 pounds.
Pangolins are a critically endangered species of mammal that has been hunted to near extinction thanks to the belief their scales have special healing properties. This is untrue, as their scales are made from keratin, the same thing our hair is made from. Nonetheless, the scales are massively popular in rural China, where superstitious medical treatments are still fairly common.
These armored creatures feed on insects using their anteater-like tongues, that can measure over to two feet in length. Unusually, their tongues are not rooted in their mouths, but are actually attached near its pelvis. The tongue can protrude about 10 inches out of the pangolin’s mouth.
The Blue-Tongued Skink Scares Predators With Its Unique Colors
Blue-tongued skinks are actually a genus of Australian lizards that compromises several different species, all of whom have a distinctive blue tongue. The tongue is a bluff, a defense mechanism meant to frighten and confuse any predators who try to make a meal out these lizards They will open their mouths wide, displaying their dark blue tongue inside of their bright pink mouths. These bright colors combined with a hissing sound are enough for most predators to get the hint and leave the skink alone.
Giraffes are perhaps most well known for the bizarrely long necks, but that is not the only extended appendage they have. Giraffe tongues are nearly two feet long and are the most muscular of all hoofed animals. They are prehensile, meaning giraffe tongues are remarkably dexterous and can be finely manipulated to grasp leaves from the tallest branches. Giraffes eat constantly and can ingest hundreds of pounds of leaves in a single week. Besides the odd length, perhaps most bizarre feature of their tongue is the coloration, which is a dark purplish-black. It is theorized this dark pigmentation is meant to prevent sunburn.