An item in this newsletter regarding the anteater's long tongue spurred a reader to pass along a tip on an entire list of fun facts about tongues. We include here a link to the article, following several of these little-known titbits.
The tongue of a blue whale can weigh as much as 3000 kg, making it the largest tongue in the animal kingdom. Fifty people could stand on it! This tongue is not only large in the absolute sense, but also huge relative to the size of the animal. The blue whale uses it to push water through its baleen, leaving the nutritious plankton behind.
The chameleon’s tongue is famous for its length: often as long as the body and tail combined. In a fraction of a second, it can be ejected to catch insects and spiders and rolled up again. Larger chameleons can even catch small birds and rodents this way. Some salamanders also employ this technique.
The alligator snapper turtle catches food using its tongue in a different way. This tongue resembles a small red worm. The turtle lies on the water’s bottom, waiting patiently for a fish foolish enough to try to take the ‘worm’, then quickly snaps to trap the fish in its mouth.