23 Animals with Long Tongues (A to Z List with Pictures)

Animals with Long Tongues

Animals with long tongues include Aardvarks, Blue Whales, Chameleon, Giant Anteaters, and Giraffe.

When you think of animals with long tongues, what comes to mind? Most likely a giraffe or an anteater. But those aren’t the only creatures with lengthy tongues.

There are many animals that have long tongues for various reasons – from catching prey to cleaning themselves.

Here is a list of 22 animals with the longest tongues in the world.

Examples of Animals with Long Tongues

1. Aardvarks

Scientific NameOrycteropus afer
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangesub-Saharan Africa
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght12 Inches

An aardvark (Orycteropus afer), also called anteaters, live in open habitats such as desert and grassland. They eat ants and termites using their long sticky tongues to lap them up, ant nests and all.

An adult aardvark’s mouth is so wide that it can fit almost an entire ant nest in it! They are nocturnal, staying in burrows during the day and coming out at night. Aardvarks can weigh up to 140 pounds, making them the world’s largest insectivore.

Read Also: Do Aardvarks Have Trunks?

2. Blue Whales

Scientific NameBalaenoptera musculus
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangeall oceans except the Arctic
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght216 Inches

Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest living mammal in the world, weighing up to 330,000 lbs and growing up to 87 feet long. They eat tiny shrimplike creatures called krill using their huge tongues to help them swallow tons of water which they filter through their baleens.

Blue whales are commonly found in all major oceans but are currently endangered.

Related Article: Do Blue Whale Has Natural Predators?

3. Chameleon

Scientific NameChamaeleonidae
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeAfrica, Madagascar, southern Europe, and southern Asia
DietOmnivore
Tongue Lenght47.2 Inches

The Chameleon has the ability to move its eyes independently in different directions, allowing it to see in many directions at once.

This is so helpful in catching prey with its long tongue that can extend almost twice its body length. It eats insects, including crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and moths.

4. Dogs

Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore
Tongue Lenght17 Inches

Dogs are well-known for their long, protruding tongues. They use their tongue to clean themselves or to drink water. Dogs have very acidic saliva which means they are unable to taste sweet things.

This is because of a mutation in the TAS1R2 gene meaning that they can’t taste sweet things as well as we do.

5. Echidnas

Scientific NameTachyglossidae
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAustralia
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght5 Inches

The echidnas (spiny anteaters) long sticky tongue helps them catch ants and termites. They use their tongues to collect the insects and eat them by placing the insects on the back of their palate and using their rear-facing teeth to grind and swallow them.

Their tongues can reach up to 2/3 of their body length, and they have a very long slender snout which is helpful when using the tongue.

They also curl their tongues and use them as a straw to suck up ants and termites, which makes them different from other anteaters who scoop up insects with their tongues.

The echidnas live in Australia and Tasmania.

Related Article: Are Echidnas Marsupials?

6. Frogs

Scientific NameAnura
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght3.7 Inches

Frogs use their long tongues to catch prey that they cannot swallow whole. They attach their tongue to the prey and draw it into their mouth, where they use their teeth and throat muscles to eat it.

The frog retracts its tongue very quickly because if the insect escapes it will be lost and the frog will starve.

A frog’s tongue is sticky because of a protein that it produces called mucin. This helps the frog catch insects without them getting away.

There are two kinds of frogs that have long tongues, they are African Bullfrogs and Pac man frogs.

7. Gerenuk

Scientific NameLitocranius walleri
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangethe dry savannahs of East Africa
DietHerbivore
Tongue Lenght10 Inches

The Gerenuk (the Wall-Climbing Gazelle) has an extremely long tongue, which helps them get to the leaves of Acacia trees. They are the only trunked species of Antelope in the world and live in East Africa. They cannot run very fast but have great endurance so they tend to avoid predators by standing still.

The gerenuk has very long thin legs for climbing acacia trees, which are their main source of food. They stand on their hind legs to get the leaves from the Acacia trees but have been seen using their mouths even if they’re not standing on their hind legs.

8. Giant Anteaters

Scientific NameMyrmecophaga tridactyla
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCentral and South America except for Guatemala, Uruguay, and El Salvador
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght24 Inches

Giant anteaters are the largest type of ant-eating mammal. The giant anteaters’ tongue is long and thin to help them catch ants.

Their tongues only have the ability to lick up ants, so instead, they use their forepaws to dig into anthills and grab as many as they can. Once their paws are full they take it to their mouth, use their long tongues to lick the ants into its mouth.

The giant anteater’s tongue is about 60 cm (24 inches) long. The giant anteater also has a very sharp claw on its third finger that helps them dig in anthills. The giant anteater lives in South America.

9. Giant Palm Salamanders

Scientific NameBolitoglossa dofleini
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeBelize, Guatemala, and Honduras
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght2-3 Inches

The giant palm salamander of South America has the longest tongue out of all amphibians (not including toads). Their tongues can reach up to 2-3 Inches long. They also have glands that secrete a sticky substance on the tip of their tongue which helps them capture prey like ants, termites, and beetles.

Their tongues are very long but have very little muscle, so they flick their tongue out to capture prey. They eat ants, termites, and beetles by catching them with their sticky tongues.

The giant palm salamanders live in the rain forests of South America.

10. Giant Pangolin

Scientific NameManis gigantea
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangecentral Africa
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght27.5 Inches

The Giant Pangolin uses its tongue to catch ants and termites, much like the echidna. They lick up the insects with long darts of their very sticky tongues.

The Giant Pangolas tongue can measure up to half of its body length which is useful for collecting food.

11. Giraffe

Scientific NameGiraffa
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangeopen woodlands in East Africa
DietHerbivore
Tongue Lenght21.2 Inches

The long tongue of the giraffe is, well, long! It is used to wrap around leaves and take them into its mouth. The giraffe’s tongue can measure up to 21 inches in length when it is fully extended out of the mouth.

They have a tough time eating because they have a relatively small mouth opening so they use their long tongue to help.

Giraffes live in the savannas of Africa.

12. Green Woodpeckers

Scientific NamePicus viridis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout England and Wales
DietOmnivore
Tongue Lenght3.9 Inches

The Green Woodpeckers long tongue can be up to 3.9 inches (10cm) and is very thin, but also muscular and bristly on the end. It helps them get insects out of crevices in tree trunks and branches. They will often sit on a branch for several minutes just pecking away at the bark.

Their tongues are long and thin but muscular which helps them get insects out of crevices in tree trunks and branches.

13. Horses

Scientific NameEquus caballus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeWorldwide
DietHerbivore

The average horse’s tongue is 11 to 16 inches long. However, they usually can only poke out the last 5 inches or so. Horses use their tongues like giraffes: to wrap the tongue around food and tough foliage in order to pull it out of the ground or trees.

14. Hummingbirds

Scientific NameTrochilidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeTierra Del Fuego to southern Alaska
DietOmnivore
Tongue Lenght18 Inches

The hummingbird uses its long tongue to lap up nectar from flowers. They have a very long narrow, grooved tongue with a hair-like tip that helps them collect nectar. The end of the tongue consists of two tubes that are inside each other and lie horizontally in the bird’s beak when not in use.

When they go to drink the nectar, they stick their tongues into the flower and curl it up. The tongue is inserted into the tube which makes a roll of fluid get squeezed along its length due to capillary action.

The hummingbirds are found across North America, South America, Cuba, and some islands in the West Indies.

15. Lungless Salamander

Scientific NamePlethodontidae
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangethe Western Hemisphere
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght2 Inches

The lungless salamander uses its long tongue to catch prey. They live in the US and Mexico and use their tongues to help them find prey that they eat. The tip of their tongue has a sticky slimy coating that helps it stick to insects such as ants, termites, and beetles which the salamanders eat.

They also eat worms, larvae, and slugs.

The salamanders have a long slender body to help them move around in the ground, and it uses their front legs which are very short to feel for prey on the ground. Their tongues can reach up to one-third of their length, and unlike other salamanders, they do not have lungs.

16. Okapi

Scientific NameOkapia johnstoni
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeRainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo
DietHerbivore
Tongue Lenght14 Inches

The Okapi has a tongue that is about 14-15 inches long. They use their tongues to strip vegetation from trees. The okapi lives in the rain forests of Central Africa and eats roots, fruit, leaves, bark, and fungi.

17. Spoon Worm

Scientific NameEchiura
Type of AnimalFish
Rangeseabeds throughout the world
DietOmnivore
Tongue Lenght10 times its body

The spoon worm is a long, thin worm that lives in the ocean. They lay flat on the bottom of the ocean and use their tongues to catch plankton for food. Their tongue has rows of teeth which it uses to scrape off animals from rocks.

Because they live on the bottom of the ocean, worms need something called hydrostatic pressure to keep their body from being crushed. The spoon worms push their tongue against the water and use it as a plunger to suck in water and move around without getting crushed by the pressure.

18. Sun Bear

Scientific NameHelarctos malayanus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCambodia’s Mondolkiri province and Virachey National Park
DietOmnivore
Tongue Lenght10 Inches

The sun bear has a tongue that is around 10 inches long. They use their tongues to catch termites and ants which they can dig into the bark of trees to get to.

19. Tamandua

Scientific NameTamandua tetradactyla
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeSouth America
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght16 Inches

The tamandua has a long tongue to catch ants and termites which it licks up with its sticky saliva. The tamandua also uses their tongues to clean themselves, they will use their tongues to pull off parts of their fur that are dirty or full of insects. The tamandua lives in South America.

20. Tiger

Scientific NamePanthera tigris
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNorth Korea, China, India, and Southwest Asia to the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght9 Inches

Believe it or not, tigers have some of the longest tongues in the animal kingdom. Tiger tongues can grow up to 9 inches long, and they are coated in a layer of sharp, backward-pointing spikes that help them grip their prey tightly.

While this adaptation may seem strange, it actually serves a very important purpose. Tigers use their long tongues to extract meat from bones, which allows them to consume large prey items that would otherwise be too difficult to chew.

21. Toads

Scientific NameAnura
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangeevery continent
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght2 Inches

Toads are amphibians that can be found all over the world. They have long tongues which they use to catch their prey.

Toads are beneficial to the environment because they eat insects and other pests. Despite their benefits, some people are afraid of toads because of their appearance.

22. Tube-Lipped Nectar Bat  

Scientific NameAnoura fistulata
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeEcuador
DietCarnivore
Tongue Lenght3.3 Inches

The tube-lipped nectar bat is a strange-looking Australian animal that is closely related to the long-tongued fruit bats. It has a very long tongue which it uses to lap up nectar from flowers.

23. Wrynecks

Scientific NameJynx
Type of AnimalBird
RangeEurope and Asia
DietOmnivore
Tongue Lenght4 Inches

Wrynecks ( Jynx torquilla ) are found in the Northern Hemisphere. Wrynecks live near woodlands and like to eat ants, larva, spiders, and other invertebrates.

Many animals use their tongues to gather food – wrynecks are no different; they have specialized muscles that control the way the birds pull their tongue in and out of their beaks.

The wrynecks’ long tongues can extend more than twice the length of their head and neck, which allows them to catch insects that hide under rocks or bark.

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