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Did you know...? Giraffe use their 18-20" long prehensile tongue and roof of their mouths to feed on different plants/shoots, most notably Acacia, which have developed defensive thorns requiring giraffe to use their dextrous tongues to sort out nutritious leaves from the thorns. Thickened papillae on the tongue and thick saliva also help protect it from thorns. The tongue's dark coloration is generally assumed to protect it during frequent sun exposure while eating, preventing sunburn.