Do Sharks Have tongues? The Strange Truth

Do sharks have tongues? You might ponder this out of pure curiosity. Pretty much all everyone knows about sharks are their enormous teeth, violent temperaments, and capacity to obliterate anything in their path on a whim made them the salty sea’s villains.

Do sharks have tongues?

Yes, sharks have tongues, though it is more appropriately referred to as a “basihyal” than a tongue. Since the tongue of a shark is not a muscle, it cannot move in the same manner as the tongue of a human.

It extends from the fish’s mouth to its chest, where it supports its gills and other internal structures.

Do Sharks Have tongues? The Strange Truth
Do Sharks Have tongues? The Strange Truth

The shark’s tongue is not equipped with taste buds and serves no purpose other than to protect the ventral aorta, a vital component of the shark’s anatomy.

How Do Sharks Use Their Tongues?

There are three species of sharks that do make good use of their tongues, despite the fact that the majority of sharks do not use their tongues for the functions that tongues are known to perform. These sharks include bullhead sharks, carpet sharks, and cookie-cutter sharks.

These sharks have much stronger tongues than other sharks do. The rectus cervicis, a group of extremely powerful throat muscles, strengthens and attaches them.

The tongues of cookie-cutter sharks are attached to their throats, as opposed to the tongues of other animals, which are attached to the floor of the mouth.

This enables these sharks to extract meat in the shape of cookies from their prey, which mainly consists of cetaceans, pelagic fishes, and pinnipeds (possibly how they got their names). These sharks have powerful throat muscles that they use to rip open their prey with their extremely sharp teeth before sucking out the flesh.

Carpet and bullhead shark tongues

Compared to all other shark species, these two species have very distinctive tongues. They move easily, are much larger, softer, and flatter.

This indicates that these two sharks are able to suck on their prey using their tongues in addition to their strong pharyngeal muscles.

But still, they don’t use their tongues to taste the prey. They ingest a portion of their prey before swallowing it all, using their taste buds in their mouth to determine whether or not it is edible. They only eat their entire catch once the taste buds give them the okay.

How Big Are Shark Tongues

Most researchers agree that the shark’s tongue is a short, chubby, and immobile organ. Therefore, shark tongues are just tiny pieces of cartilage that are infrequently used.

Do Sharks Have Taste Buds

Yes, Sharks do indeed have taste buds. Sharks have taste buds on their papillae rather than their tongues, which they use to taste their prey before swallowing in order to determine whether it is edible or not.

They can only determine whether a food is edible or safe to eat using this taste bud, which is not sensitive. Even though the lining performs the function of taste in sharks, they have a poor sense of flavour.

Do Sharks Have tongues? The Strange Truth
Do Sharks Have tongues? The Strange Truth

A first bite is taken, and any prey that doesn’t taste edible is spit out. When a shark is hunting and their normal diet becomes scarce, they lose all sense of morality and consume whatever they see fit.

Can Sharks Stick Their Tongues Out?

No, Sharks can’t stick their tongues out. The floor of a shark’s mouth is where the tongue is attached. Since cartilage makes up the majority of the structure, it is not very flexible, which prevents sharks from sticking out their tongues.

Can Sharks Taste With Their Tongues?

No, Sharks can’t taste with their tongues, unfortunately. A shark’s tongue does not have taste buds, as was already mentioned. What criteria does a shark use to determine what to eat and what to avoid?

The taste buds of sharks are found on the papillae lining. They use the papillae lining in their mouth and throat to taste food.

What Other Functions Do Shark Tongues Serve?

Almost all shark species seem to use the basihyal for nothing, except for carpet sharks, cookie-cutter sharks, and bullhead sharks, which use it to pull out flesh from their prey. They also aid in locating prey when there is little light in the water, navigating obstacles while swimming, and detecting prey in murky water.

Like human tongues, sharks’ tongues are used for more than just forcing food down their throats. Sharks actually have an organ on their bodies called the ampullae of Lorenzini that allows them to smell with their tongues.

Do Sharks Have tongues? The Strange Truth
Do Sharks Have tongues? The Strange Truth

Therefore, the shark’s tongue has evolved to aid in survival in its aquatic environment, just like the rest of their body. It helps the shark feed, clears debris from their mouth, and gives them sensory information.

Do sharks bite their tongues?

No, sharks don’t bite their tongues. It’s easy to understand why! Their tongues are mostly fixed to the floor of their mouths and are attached to it. These muscles are evenly dispersed and densely packed with proprioceptors, which are nerve endings.

These receptors constantly monitor the tension and movement of the muscles and communicate the proper signals to the brain. This implies that the brain is constantly aware of the tongue’s position and maintains complete control over all movements in its vicinity.

However, it is said that these carnivores with sharp teeth can accidentally chew out their tongues if their mouths are anaesthetized.

What are the differences between the tongues of sharks and humans?

A shark’s tongue may superficially resemble a human tongue in some ways. The two are, however, clearly distinguished from one another by a few significant differences.

  • A shark’s tongue has no taste buds. A typical person has about 10,000 taste buds, the majority of which are on the tongue.
  • Because a shark’s tongue lacks muscles, it cannot move in the same way that ours does. A shark’s tongue can only move in a very small range.
  • Shark tongues have much rougher and more pointed surfaces than human tongues. They must rip out flesh to properly chew a cookie; they don’t need to soften it first.


Sharks are undoubtedly among the most dangerous animals on the planet. Additionally, they are a species that is greatly feared due to their ferocity.

But these creatures also offer plenty of material for research by scientists. One example is the shape of their tongues. It is an organ that looks like a tongue but isn’t one. It is a cartilage with a very small range of capabilities.

It neither comes from the mouth nor has any taste. However, it does offer the shark’s ventral aorta, which supports the gills and is situated just below the mouth, much-needed protection.


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