|A lions tongue has numerous tiny spines called papillae|
Sunday, 24 April 2016
The Roughness Of A Lions Tongue
Pet lovers with a domestic cat at home will relate to this story quite well, as they would have had their hands or fingers licked by their cat's tongue at some point or another. A lion’s tongue is no less different in design to that of a house cats, with the exception that its sheer size and heaviness would make a lions tongue as rough and harsh as sandpaper! But why is the lions tongue so rough and how is this beneficial?
The reason for its roughness is that the surface of the lions tongue is covered in many tiny spines called papillae, which are further divided into 3 types namely; Filiform, Fungiform and Vallate papillae. The cats filiform papillae which is located on the tongues dorsal surface, is the main reason for the roughness, and these can also be compared to barbs since they face backwards in the direction of the throat.
Having a barbed tongue is beneficial to the lion for a number of reasons. Its sandpaper like roughness and heavy weight aids the lion to easily scrape meat off the bones of its prey during feeding. Having thousands of papillae also helps the big cat to lap up water while drinking and pull food into its mouth while eating.
Another advantage of having such a rough tongue is that it helps the lion to groom itself more efficiently. The barbed papillae helps to scrape away loose fur, dirt and insects as it licks itself while grooming.
So the next time you watch a lion yawn, groom or feed think about these interesting facts about the roughness of a lions tongue.