Sumatran Tiger Shows Off Its Massive Barbed Tongue [Photo]

Tiger sticks out its tongue
Boris Roessler/AFP/Getty Images

Tiger teasing

A Sumatran tiger sticks its tongue out at visitors on Oct. 15 at the zoo in Frankfurt, Germany. Similar to the sandpaper tongue of a domestic house cat, the coarse tongue of a tiger is equipped with sharp barbs that allow it to groom and lick the fur off its prey.

With only a few hundred individuals left in the wild, Sumatran tigers are critically endangered as a result of poaching and habitat destruction. In the past century, the Sumatran tiger's closest relatives — the Bali tiger and the Javan tiger — became extinct.