The giraffe is an iconic African animal, known for its long neck and distinctive spots. And of course, its long tongue is also quite notable.
A giraffe’s tongue can have a black, blue, or purple hue. If you take a close look, you’ll notice that the front of the tongue is darker than the back. The back half of a giraffe’s tongue has a different shade, typically lighter than the front half.
Why Is A Giraffe’s Tongue Blue, Black, or Purple?
The dark portion contains high levels of melanin, a pigment that provides protection from the sun. The believed reasoning behind the blue/black/purple colors of a giraffe’s tongue is that it helps prevent sunburn.
Giraffes, being the huge animals they are, require a substantial amount of food. They feed mostly on the leaves of tall trees, such as the acacia. Giraffes spend a lot of time eating – up to 12 hours a day. They do this by sticking out their tongue and munching on leaves.
How Long Is A Giraffe’s Tongue?
A giraffe’s tongue can reach up to 22 inches long. They use their tongues to strip leaves off of branches, as well as to clean their ears. Although 20 inches might seem like a lot, it’s actually just the right size for a giraffe.
If their tongue was any shorter, they wouldn’t be able to reach the leaves at the top of trees. And if it was any longer, they would have trouble keeping it inside their mouths!
There you have it – everything you ever wanted to know about a giraffe’s tongue color. The next time you see one of these majestic animals, take a closer look at its tongue and see if you can spot the different colors!