Lethal chameleon tongue does not disappoint in slow-mo

By

BBC Earth Unplugged/YouTube
Meet the world's most deadly tongue. Photo: BBC

Gene Simmons has a show-stopping demonic tongue wag. But it’s nothing compared to the tongue action of a panther chameleon.

BBC Earth’s web series Earth Unplugged put the quirky chameleon in its slow-motion studio, shooting him at meal time at 1,500 frames per second, then playing it back 60 times slower than real time.

This chameleon’s tongue can shoot out of its mouth at a speed that’s four times faster than the highest acceleration of a fighter jet. The slow-mo treatment allows the viewer to appreciate the artistry of both the filmmakers and their hungry star.

The BBC brought in a panther chameleon and an unsuspecting cricket into its slow-motion studio to capture the chameleon's tongue. Photo: BBC Earth Unplugged/YouTube
The BBC brought in a panther chameleon and an unsuspecting cricket into its slow-motion studio to capture the chameleon’s tongue. Photo: BBC Earth Unplugged/YouTube

At least one cricket was harmed in the making of this film and, apparently, it was delicious. The end of its tongue looks like a fist and buff forearm and we can only hope the violent jab knocked the cricket cold.

The chameleon’s tongue measures out a little more than the length of its body when it strikes, then quickly coils back to begin chewing.

If you are a regular visitor to YouTube, you may want to subscribe to the Earth Unplugged channel.

The slow-motion studio wizards will slow down – or in some cases, speed up – the various actions of many creatures to help explain nature.

Some of the videos include, a time-lapse film of the decomposition of a monitor lizard, the tail of a whip scorpion spraying vinegar (but you wouldn’t want this vinegar on your fish and chips, the British filmmakers point out) and, in another study of the tongue, cats versus dogs in slow-motion.