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The Kid Should See This

How do giraffes use their super long tongues?

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Enjoy this minute and a half crunch time video from the Oregon Zoo as reticulated giraffe Desi and Masai giraffe Buttercup snack on lettuce leaves and carrot chunks.

We’ve watched this sort of quiet moment at the Oregon Zoo’s Africa Savanna habitat before, but it’s worth watching again. At approximately 45-50 centimeters long, giraffe tongues are around 15 inches longer than the average 3 to 3.5-inch human tongue. Giraffe tongues (and their top lip) are also prehensile, helping them effectively grasp food.

giraffe reaching for a carrot chunk with a prehensile tongue
Giraffes use their long necks and tongues to reach vegetation in sub-Saharan Africa’s semi-arid savannah and savannah woodlands. They are often referred to as keystone species, a term used to define how a species is key to maintaining its environment’s ecological balance. Bushwise Field Guides explains:

“This basically means that they are essential to the survival of the ecosystems they live in. Without them, these ecosystems would begin to collapse and change completely.”

giraffe reaches food with tongue

“You see, because of their impressive height, giraffes eat the plants that other animals can’t reach. This promotes the distribution and growth of plants lower down, which are important for the survival of smaller animals.

“The survival of giraffes is also vital to the acacia tree. These two are so intertwined that some acacia tree seedlings can’t successfully germinate until they have passed through the digestive system of a giraffe.

“It’s also believed that the height of giraffes, paired with their excellent vision, allows them to spot predators and danger earlier than other animals, which can act as an early-warning system for other animals.”

This one-minute video from the Oregon Zoo in 2019 shares a few more giraffe facts with Desi and Buttercup:

Watch these giraffe videos next on TKSST:
β€’ Returning giraffes back home to Lake Baringo in Kenya
β€’Β The animals of Nairobi National Park
β€’Β β€œIt’s nerve-wracking to watch a giraffe run for the first time…”

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