A Giraffe’s Tongue Can Clean Its Own Ears – Areena Riverside Resort

by Candice Land
giraffe's tongue areena riverside resort

Can a giraffe clean its ears with its tongue? Yes – it can. This may sound crazy but it is completely true. A giraffe’s tongue is used to clean their ears on a routine basis. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see a giraffe in action, you’ll notice that they use their long, black tongues to curl around the leaves at the top of the tree. And if you are extra lucky, you’ll see a giraffe cleaning its ears with its tongue.

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Can a Giraffe Clean Its Own Ears?

The giraffe is marveled at for several reasons. From it’s impressively long neck to its uniquely patterned coat, the giraffe is a spectacle. However, perhaps one of the most fascinating parts of the animal’s anatomy is the giraffe tongue.

The giraffe tongue color is blue-black in tone and functions as a form of sunblock. This is extremely convenient considering that up to 50 cm of the tongue is exposed to the harsh African sun on the regular.

The tongue is also rough enough to withstand thorny bushes and food. This hardy quality works together with the animal’s antiseptic saliva to prevent infection if any cuts do occur – how amazing!

The incredible length and dexterity of the tongue allows the giraffe to reach up and clean its ears (and even its nose) with its tongue.

Best Place To See A Giraffe Cleaning Ears With Its Tongue

Giraffes are mainly found in the sub-Saharan regions of Africa. Being born in South Africa, we both count ourselves lucky enough to have seen giraffes many times. When traveling to South Africa, you are spoilt for choice on places to watch these magnificent beasts in action.

Here are some amazing safaris to help you discover more about these amazing creatures. Perhaps you’ll even see the giraffe’s tongue in action!

Abby the Giraffe at Areena Riverside Resort

On our recent trip to the Eastern Cape, we got the wonderful opportunity to visit Areena Riverside Resort and enjoy a giraffe feeding interaction with the local celeb – Abby.

A mere 20 minutes outside of East London, we all piled into the car and ventured off. The plush landscape was pulsing with wildlife and birdlife. Driving to the reception alone we passed ostrich, various types of buck and wildebeest.

We climbed onto the back of a bakkie and set off looking for Abby – who was playing hard to get.  The drive to look for him (yes, Abby is a male) exposed us to incredible animal sightings. When we did eventually spot him, he came trotting over at the honk of the horn.

Feeding Time

As Abby came galloping gallantly over to us, we could see his saliva flailing in the air. The suspense was built as we wondered how slobbery the feeding process would be.

And that is where the real fun began as Abby lowered his long neck and lapped up pellets from our hand. The blend of sandpaper and fuzz felt by the giraffe’s tongue eating from our hands is something that we will not forget for a very long time. Surprisingly, the saliva was not slippery at all, and it dried really quickly.

It took me a while to warm up to the invasion of space and risk of getting kicked by a giraffe (again), but Ollie was blowing softly in his face to get kisses from the giraffe (check this out in the video).

The value that we got for our money was outstanding.  Our guide, Daniel, was incredibly insightful and we learned a lot, all the while enjoying the raw bliss of being in the open air and land of the Eastern Cape.

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