Animals Wildlife Sumatran Tiger Shows Off Its Massive Barbed Tongue [Photo] By Catie Leary Writer and Photographer Georgia State University Catie Leary writes and curates visual stories about science, animals, the arts, travel, and the natural world. our editorial process Catie Leary Updated May 31, 2017 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Animals Wildlife Pets Animal Rights Endangered Species 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.