A frog uses its whip-like tongue to snag its prey faster than a human can blink, hitting it with a force five times greater than gravity. How does it hang on to its meal as the food rockets back into its mouth?
A Georgia Tech study says a frog tongue’s stickiness is caused by a unique reversible saliva in combination with a super soft tongue. A frog’s saliva is thick and sticky during prey capture, then turns thin and watery as prey is removed inside the mouth. The tongue, which was found to be as soft as brain tissue and 10 times softer than a human’s tongue, stretches and stores energy much like a spring. This combination of spit and softness is so effective that it provides the tongue 50 times greater work of adhesion than synthetic polymer materials such as sticky-hand toys.