13 September 2010

The tongue of a chameleon is as long as its own body length and sometimes even longer...

The Chameleon is a generally slow-moving animal. Therefore, it has adapted an extremely long tongue to make hunting easier. The tongue extends out faster than human eyes can follow, at around 26 body lengths per second and hits the prey in about 30 thousandths of a second. The tongue itself is quite a complex arrangement of bone, muscle and sinew. At the base of the tongue of a Chameleon there is a bone and this is shot forward giving the tongue the initial momentum it needs to reach the prey quickly.

The creature can unfurl a tongue twice its body length in 0.07 second. At the tip of the elastic tongue there is a muscular, club-like structure covered in thick mucus that forms a suction cup. Once the tip sticks to a prey item, it is drawn quickly back into the mouth, where the chameleon's strong jaws crush it and it is consumed.

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