You’ve probably never thought much about how frogs manage to eat insects, spiders, birds, mice, fish, and even other frogs in the blink of an eye. In fact, you may not have even known they ate such a medley of food. But a frog’s ability to grab and eat such a variety of food—and so quickly—is a testament to the creativity of the Designer.
Scraping Frog Tongues for Science
Frogs have the incredible ability to catch and eat a wide variety of prey, from hairy to furry to oddly-shaped. This prey can be up to 1.4 times their own body weight. A recent study published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface sought to figure out how frogs can accomplish this since not much research had been done previously.1 Their findings were summed up in an article from Science News.2
After viewing slow-motion video footage, conducting experiments, and analyzing frog spit (it took several hours of scraping fifteen frog tongues to put together enough spit for just one test. Now who says science isn’t glamorous?), researchers discovered that the frog’s super-soft tongue and unique saliva work in tandem.
Super-Soft Tongues and Super-Sticky Spit
Frogs strike at prey in the blink of an eye. Actually, five times faster than the blink of an eye! But their tongues aren’t just lightning fast, they’re super soft (think marshmallow soft). When the tongue launches and hits the intended target, it “splats on impact,” which allows it to curl and surround the prey. The tongue acts like a car’s shock absorber, “absorbing energy and so preventing separation from the insect.”
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