What Makes This Frog’s Tongue So Fast AND Sticky? | Deep Look

From Deep Look.

How are frogs and toads so amazing at catching bugs? They smack ’em with a supersoft tongue covered in special spit, which flows into every nook and cranny of their target. Then, in less than a second, that spit transforms into a tacky glue, yanking the meal back into the toad’s maw.

SUBSCRIBE to Deep Look! https://www.youtube.com/user/kqeddeeplook?sub_confirmation=1
Please join our community on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/deeplook

DEEP LOOK is a ultra-HD (4K) short video series created by KQED San Francisco and presented by PBS Digital Studios. See the unseen at the very edge of our visible world. Explore big scientific mysteries by going incredibly small.

Toads nab their prey 5 times faster than the blink of an eye. How do they do it? They pop their lower jaw open, and launch their supersoft tongue at their meal, enveloping their prey. When their unique saliva hits prey at a high speed, it thins out dramatically, pouring into every nook and cranny the tongue touches. Then it becomes sticky again, drawing that meal down the hatch.

—+ How does a toad get insects OFF its tongue?

Scientists at the University of Florida put tiny metal markers on cane toads’ tongues and filmed X-ray footage of them eating to see where that tongue went after the toad mouth closed. They found that the toad basically swallows its own tongue in order to scrape off its prey with a rigid piece of cartilage called a hyoid. See more images from their work here:


—+ How does a toad catch prey?

It’s a combo of that super-soft tongue that helps envelop prey … and some very special spit. A toad’s saliva starts off thick and sticky. but when the saliva hits prey at a high speed, it thins out dramatically, pouring into every nook and cranny the tongue touches.

—+ More Great Deep Look episodes:

How Does the Mussel Grow its Beard? | Deep Look

This Parasite is Cramping The Monarch Butterfly’s Style | Deep Look

Barnacles Go To Unbelievable Lengths To Hook Up | Deep Look


🏆Congratulations🏆 to these fans on our Deep Look Community Tab who correctly answered our GIF challenge!

Brittany Skyy
Snata Chakraborty

—+ Thank you to our Top Patreon Supporters ($10+ per month)!

Burt Humburg
Karen Reynolds
Daisuke Goto
Companion Cube
David Deshpande
Chris B Emrick
Tianxing Wang
Wade Tregaskis
Mark Jobes
Blanca Vides
Kevin Judge
Laurel Przybylski
Cindy McGill
Titania Juang
Roberta K Wright
Rory B.
El Samuels
Jessica Hiraoka
Cristen Rasmussen
Carrie Mukaida
Kelly Hong
SueEllen McCann
Noreen Herrington
Laurel Przybylski
Nicolette Ray
Caitlin McDonough
Elizabeth Ann Ditz
Levi Cai
Delphine Tseng
Louis O’Neill
Jeremiah Sullivan

—+ Follow Deep Look and KQED Science on social:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kqedscience
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kqedscience

—+ About KQED

KQED, an NPR and PBS affiliate in San Francisco, CA, serves Northern California and beyond with a public-supported alternative to commercial TV, Radio and web media.