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Freak of nature: 2-inch bat has 3-inch tongue!

  • Tongue is longest among all mammals relative to body size
  • New slo-mo, high-def video captures it being deployed by bat
  • Human equivalent would be a nine-foot tongue
Freak of nature: 2-inch bat has 3-inch tongue!

Gene Simmons has found his spirit animal.

If those two kids from "Gene Simmons' Family Jewels" are still looking to buy their dad a Father's Day gift, may we suggest a bat?

The animal may have a checkered past with rock stars (oh heyOzzy) but the Kiss frontman would seem to be something of a kindred spirit with the tube-lipped nectar bat -- owner of the longest tongue relative to the size of its body among all mammals -- and star of an amazing new video.

For the first time, the bat's been captured deploying its amazing, slimy, comically long tongue in remarkable high-definition video.

According to National Geographic, the tube-lipped nectar bat (or Anoura fistulata if you're into Latin) is only a shade under two inches in size. Yet it crams a three-inch tongue into that small body. For perspective that would be equivalent of a person having a nine-foot tongue.

A Nine. Foot. Tongue.

The bat was only discovered in 2005, high up in the Andes Mountains in Ecuador. It was still another year before researchers noticed its most impressive feature, and then another six years before that tongue -- one and-a-half times the size of its entire body and stored in its rib cage -- was filmed doing its thing as part of National Geographic's "Untamed Americas" documentary series.

In the clip below, the nectar bat shows how it earned its name. Hovering hummingbird-like over a long, narrow flower, it unleashes its secret weapon. Then, according to NatGeo, "When the tongue reaches the pool of sweet nectar at the bottom, the tip transforms, becoming suddenly prickly as hairlike structures called papillae extend outward."

Sounds cool, but totally doesn't begin do it justice. You just have to watch this thing.

Enjoy -- and you're welcome for the free gift guide, Simmons kids.


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