Are Sloth tongues soft or rough?

Dogs have soft tongues, while cats have rough tongues, so the feeling when they lick e.g. a human hand is quite different. So what about sloths?

This question came up in a recent discussion but I was unable to find any materials as google queries for sloth tongues leads to tons of cute pictures.

  • $\begingroup$ Cats have hairs like structures called papillae on the upper surface of tongue that's why they are rough. The same could be for sloths if they have any. $\endgroup$
    – Tyto alba
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


Sloths have long, thick, sticky tongues covered in a carpet of tiny, rear-ward pointing spikes that they can pull leaves in with.

So the tongues are quite different from human tongues and likely much less "soft" to touch and more "rough".

According to scanning electron microscopy studies on the topography of a sloth's tongue, the following results were found:

The results revealed that the rostral part of the tongue presents a round apex and covered by filiform and fungiform lingual papillae and a ventral smooth surface.


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