Why Do Giraffes Have Black Tongues?

Photo by howling red on Unsplash

Besides their long necks, giraffes have something else that makes them special in the animal world. Their tongues contain melanin, the pigment we also have in our skin, responsible for tanning our skin when exposed to the sun.

Mammals are mostly protected from the sun by their fur. Still, they have some body parts that are directly exposed to it, and much like humans, they risk sunburns and skin cancer. Dark tongues protect giraffes from harmful sunshine effects. Their tongues are often exposed as they spend a lot of time eating plants.

Black body parts aren’t unique to giraffes. Okapis are also known for having a long black tongue.