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Multipurpose Tongue

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Multipurpose Tongues can do a lot more than taste, such as grasp, sting, or bash objects. A great variety of creatures could possess this kind of tongue, but they're usually reptilian or amphibians. Many characters add an Animal Motif based on their ability.

A Multipurpose Tongue is sometimes fully prehensile, allowing characters to grab and carry things solely with their tongue. Less prehensile variants may be coated in some sticky substance, or have tiny suction pads like an octopus's tentacles. Alternatively, a Multipurpose Tongue could be covered in a slimy substance, allowing the character to escape a grapple hold with their saliva. Particularly in the case of stinging Multipurpose Tongues, the appendage may have a venomous component (or skin-contact poison) that causes paralysis in the target.

This is a very common trait for fictional chameleons and frogs, despite the fact that real-life frog tongues aren't actually prehensile or all that long. This is often extended to other reptiles and amphibians, as part of the general confusion of cold-blooded creatures that tends to go on in fiction.

Power Perversion Potential abounds. Can fall under Bizarre Alien Limbs. Usually, this trope needs an Overly-Long Tongue just to function.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: The sequel series Shinsetsu Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo features Yononaka Namerou, the user of the Fist of Wobbly Tongue, which involves using his tongue to attack... until he replaced it with the aura-based Fist of the Emperor.
  • Dragon Ball: When the assassin Tao Pai Pai is hired by to stop Goku, he establishes his lethality and ruthlessness by killing the previous heavy of the arc, General Blue, with a strike of the tongue to the temple.
  • Monster Rancher: One of Suezo's attacks is rapidly punching enemies with his tongue.
  • My Hero Academia: Tsuyu Asui has the abilities of a frog thanks to her Quirk. She naturally has an Overly-Long Tongue which she can use in a variety of ways, from attacking to carrying people and items, among other uses.
  • Naruto: Orochimaru has a snake motif; one of the most unsettling applications of this is his repeated use of his tongue as a weapon, which he does so efficiently that he was still able to defend himself when he was briefly deprived use of his hands. All of this, of course, invokes Yamata-no-Orochi, the so-called "Japanese Hydra."
  • Nurse Hitomi's Monster Infirmary: Nobuko Shitara's puberty change is a tongue that can stretch over three meters, which she's rather self-conscious about. One chapter shows her using it to tie a cherry stem into a knot.
  • One-Punch Man: The Deep-Sea King has a second jaw on his tongue that he can use to attack with. He uses this against Speed-o-Sound Sonic.
  • Toriko: When his gourmet cells awakened in his tongue, Midora became the user of this spades. Not only can he elongate his tongue, but he can also devour creatures with it just by touching them. He can even multiply and mutate his tongue for offensive and defensive purposes.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men:
    • Toad uses his long, prehensile tongue in combat as one of his primary abilities.
    • Amphibius' tongue is both prehensile and long enough that he can use it as a weapon in combat by ensnaring or grappling his victims.
    • Age of Apocalypse: Sugar-Man uses his long, razor-sharp tongue as a weapon.
    • New X-Men: Academy X: Anole has a prehensile tongue that is longer than his whole body. It's extremely sticky as well, allowing him to easily grab objects out of his reach. Anole has also used it in battle to trip up opponents or hit them in the eye.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: A one-shot villain called the Tongue is a frog-like alien who can morph his tongue into various weapons and tools.

    Films — Animation 
  • Hercules: The Hydra's tongue. In their first battle, the Hydra lashed out with her tongue and caught Hercules by the ankle, then she flipped him high into the air to swallow him whole. Later, when fighting multiple Hydra heads, Hercules grabbed one of the head's tongue to swing around as one attempt to escape the swarm of heads.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Chinese Ghost Story: The demon posing as a middle-aged woman running a brothel has a prehensile tongue.
  • Cicak Man (Gecko-Man): The titular protagonist has a long tongue which he uses to swing around Kuala Lumpur while patrolling the city, in a similar manner to Spider-Man using webs.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: The mimic that Holga encounters in the trailer has a sticky, frog-like tongue that it tries to use to devour her.
  • Evolution (2001): One of the creatures has an extendible tongue tipped with a second, predatory head.
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist: Chosen One has a talking tongue named Tonguey, which is a distinguished mark signifying that he's, well, The Chosen One. He used his tongue to destroy one of the alien spaceships, scaring away the others back through their portal.
  • La Lengua Asesina (The Killer Tongue): A woman gets a giant tongue that speaks and kills people. At first, the woman wants to get rid of it, but eventually learns to use it as a weapon against others.
  • Star Wars: Gungans have very long, chameleon-like tongues, which they can use to grab distant food items.
  • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen: Alice tries to kill Sam by impaling him with her robotic tongue.
  • X-Men: Toad of the Brotherhood has a prehensile tongue that he uses as a weapon; this aspect of his mutation did not exist in the comics in the time but would become a part of him in the 2001 X-Men Forever miniseries and used in future animated works.

  • Arcturus Times Three: A xenobiologist's consciousness is projected into alien organisms to observe them. One is an ambush predator with an extensible tongue, which is actually its own conjoined, budded offspring. When this "tongue" catches prey, it eats and grows larger, eventually becoming too big for its "parent" (now dying) to retract. It then sprouts a juvenile "tongue" of its own, and the process repeats.
  • Expedition, a science-fiction book by Wayne Douglas Barlowe, features many strange creatures including the arrowtongue and bolt-tongue, which use their retractable tongues (or rather the appendages in their mouths that resemble tongues) to subdue prey. An arrowtongue usually uses its tongue to pierce its victim's skin and inject digestive juices.
  • Known Space:
    • The two-headed puppeteers use the long, dexterous tongues in their mouths as hand substitutes, together with the mobile, fleshy knobs on their lips.
    • Female grogs are sessile, somewhat limpet-like predators with long, prehensile tongues used to grab prey and drag it into their mouths.
  • Murasaki includes one alien species whose tongues also function as sexual organs. The human visitors have been known to cause scandals now and then by opening their mouths in public.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • According to The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide, a Bantha has a long prehensile tongue that it can use to hold objects and communicate with conspecifics and which is also lined with breathing spiracles.
    • Galaxy of Fear: The Enzeen look like Rubber-Forehead Aliens but, while they do have human-style mouths, they eat exclusively through their long, powerful, nutrient-draining tongues. Usually, these are kept neatly retracted.
  • The Travels of Marco Polo describe the Unicorn having a barbed tongue which it uses to kill its enemies instead of the horn.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: "Time and the Rani": The bat-like Tetraps have weaponized tongues similar to the Luxans noted below, as do Silurians in the new series. The Power Perversion Potential is all but outright stated in "A Good Man Goes to War"...
  • Farscape: Luxans have long tongues, tipped with knock-out venom. However, D'Argo has also used it for dangling off ledges and snatching objects in a hurry — although it takes a lot of practice to perfect.
  • Grimm: Phansigars are a type of Wesen based on Komodo dragons. They have very long tongues that they use to strangle victims.
  • Juken Sentai Gekiranger: Mele can use her tongue to stab people, or hit their pressure points and disrupt the flow of their chi.
  • In Prehistoric Planet, the Mononykus is given a long, flexible tongue very much like that of an anteater. Together with her exceptional hearing, this makes her perfectly suited to raiding termite nests.
  • Primeval: Season 2, Episode 4 features a killer shark from the future, which is killed by the team fairly early on. They take the body back to the ARC to examine it, and discover that it has an extendable, multi-pronged tongue covered in teeth which it can fire from its mouth to grab prey and clue them in.
  • Space Precinct: A minor character in one episode uses his tongue to remove a bomb stuck to the hood of the car he's in.
  • Sweet Home (2020): One prominent monster from early on in Season 1 has a long tentacle-like tongue. It uses it as a weapon and to drain its victim's blood.

    Multiple Media 
  • MonsterVerse:
    • The Skullcrawlers which debuted in Kong: Skull Island have elongated, forked tongues which they use to grasp nearby prey and drag them into their maws.
    • Skull Island (2023): The chameleon monsters that Kong fights in episode 7 have extra-long tongues that they use to drag their victims into their mouths.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Arduin: An ibathene's tongue is long, prehensile and very strong, and their owners typically open fights by wrapping them around their targets, attempting to both crush them and drag them towards their mouths.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Some monsters, such as the froghemoth, mohrg and gouger, can use their tongues or equivalent appendages as limbs to aid in feeding and combat.
  • In Nomine: The Numinous Corpus Song of Tongue causes the singer's tongue to become long, coiled and barbed, allowing its owner to use it as a lash-like weapon.
  • Warhammer: Steeds of Slaanesh have whip-like tongues several meters long, which are coated with a paralyzing poison. The Steeds use these tongues to attack their enemies, immobilizing the opponent so that they are helpless against their rider's tender mercies.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • Changeling: The Dreaming: According to their splatbook, some sluagh have prehensile tongues. In combat, such a sluagh can lick an opponent, and have them become utterly overcome with revulsion.
    • Vampire: The Masquerade: Vampires using the discipline Serpentis (which are almost exclusively the Followers of Set and their bloodlines) are able to turn their tongue into a serpent's, which can be used in as many ways as one can imagine, including in a fight and for drinking blood — during said fight, at that. Mortals are said to find the touch of the Setite's tongue pleasing.

    Video Games 
  • Chrono Trigger: Frog is, well, a giant frog, and able to use his tongue in combat offensively and defensively (he can heal allies by licking them). In fact, he actually thanks the man responsible for his transformation, as he'd never have made it this far without his new abilities.
  • Cuphead: IN The Delicious Last Course DLC, the Anteater, a member of the Moonshine Mob, attacks by extending his tongue at the player character(s) either in short licks or screen-crossing extensions that pick up a ball of bugs and throw it into the arena.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: As with his namesake, the remodeler Kaimetsu Kameleon can use his excessively long tongue to attack.
  • Fallout: Centaurs, human who were extremely mutated by the Forced Evolutionary Virus, have three extremely long tongues that they use in melee combat.
  • The titular weapon of Frogun is a sentient weapon that uses its tongue to grab and eject enemies, and use it as a grappling hook.
  • Gex: Gex uses his tongue for several things, especially volleying out fire, ice and slime when he's eaten a powerup, as well as to grab ledges in lieu of his hands.
  • Heroes of the Storm: Dehaka from StarCraft has the Drag as one of his basic skills, which makes him use his tongue to grapple onto opponents and drag them along as he moves.
  • Kirby:
    • Gooey has a prehensile, froglike tongue that he can use for combat. In Kirby's Dream Land 3, he can use it to ingest enemies as an equivalent of Kirby's inhale ability, while in Kirby Star Allies and Kirby Fighters 2, he uses it as a whip to attack opponents.
    • Kirby: Triple Deluxe: Pyribbit is a giant frog who is able to force Kirby's copy ability out of him using Tongue Strike, which, as the name implies, entails jabbing the pink puffball with his extendable tongue.
  • Klonoa: Door to Phantomile: Nahatomb, the Final Boss, has an attack where he waves his long tongue around the arena. If Klonoa touches it, Klonoa takes damage, and then Nahatomb slowly draws Klonoa into his mouth, while Klonoa is helpless to do anything. Nahatomb shoots Klonoa out from one of the spouts on his back a moment later.
  • League of Legends: Tahm Kench. His tongue is his weapon. But that's not the real threat.
  • Left 4 Dead: Smokers use their elongated tongues (which may or may not actually be their intestines) to grab survivors at long range and pull them close in order to beat the crap out of them. It's especially nasty if the Smoker has the high ground over you, since you will be hanged and lose health more quickly than if he was beating you up. It's even worse if he drags you into a Bottomless Pit for an instant kill.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: As part of their chameleon-like redesign, the Lizalfos enemies gain long, brightly colored tongues that can extend to be as long as their bodies. They can shoot these out with some force, and use this as a ranged attack when without weapons.
  • Mega Man X: Sting Chameleon uses this for two of his primary attacks. His melee attack comprises of a painful metal tongue lash, but he can also hang from the roof with it to cause spikes to rain down from the ceiling.
  • Mortal Kombat 9: Reptile can use his tongue to kill his opponent in some of his fatalities, usually by tearing out their heart with it.
  • New Tales from the Borderlands: In the trailer, Octavio can be seen running from a monster that is using its long tongue to smash around and damage the environment.
  • Oddworld: Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus has the Fleeches, slug creatures that use their long tongues to ensnare their prey a la frogs and as grappling hooks to navigate their environment.
  • Pikmin:
    • Pikmin 3: Whiptongue Bulborbs possess long, sticky tongues that they can use to snatch up groups of Pikmin to pull into their mouths.
    • Hey! Pikmin: The Luring Slurker can use its tongue to squish enemies.
  • Pokémon:
    • The move Lick is a damaging move that paralyzes the target 30% of the time.
    • Lickitung and its evolution, Lickilicky, uses their tongues to gather food and to fight enemies, either by wrapping them up or licking them with their paralytic saliva.
  • Resident Evil: Lickers are highly mutated zombies who often use their elongated tongues to decapitate or impale people.
  • Skylanders: Wrecking Ball is a mutated grubworm whose primary method of attack is to use his incredibly long tongue to whip opponents, and his Soul Gem allows him to literally eat opponents to recover health. One upgrade path even works to specialize in using his tongue, letting him lash it out faster and farther and use it to grab items that aren't near him.
  • Sonic the Fighters: Espio the Chamelion can attack using his tongue to damage. However, it is treated as a stealable weapon, meaning characters that perform a steal on him grab his tongue to hurt him with it.
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order: Oggdos are predators found on the planet Bogano and are the first tough enemy that Cal Kestis encounters in the game. Their main quirk is their long tongue that they use to catch their prey and devour them, which deals a large amount of damage to Cal should he be caught. That said, the tongue attack, while devastating to unsuspecting players is an Achilles' Heel should one exploit it via using The Force to stop an Oggdo in the midst of their tongue attack and allow Cal to slash the tongue, dealing heavy damage to the Oggdo and disabling their tongue attack.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Yoshi invokes this trope quite a fair bit in some of his games. Although a lot of his skillset revolves around eating living things, he can use his tongue for other things, especially in Yoshi's Story, where Yoshi can use it to nudge bubbles around if need be, and use it to hookshot his way onto red ! balls.
  • Tongue Of The Fatman: The final boss Mondu's stomach mouth uses its tongue as an attack.
  • Yooka-Laylee: Yooka the chameleon utilizes his tongue as a whip and grappling hook.

  • AsteroidQuest: Members of the yich eater species have a tongue long enough to lick their own eye. Which they do in lieu of blinking, since they don't appear to have eyelids.
  • Fifteen Minds: The frog in the protagonist's party in Blue Moon Blossom is seen using their tongue as an appendage, first to grab the rabbit spirit and second to tip a mug full of drink into their mouth. It's a good thing they can do this, since they have no other appendages.
  • El Goonish Shive: Nanase, while in a gecko form, uses her tongue to attach to a switch in midair which allows her to flip it despite failing to grab it with her hands.
  • Schlock Mercenary: The Frelenti have prehensile tongues. Legs, the Toughs' Frelenti member, uses hers when piloting shuttlecraft or to wield a pugil stick as part of the Toughs' combat courses (and despite the pugil sticks normally being communal use, she has her own with her name written on it because of this fact). It's also hypersensitive. Legs can track by taste nearly as well as Schlock can, but dislikes doing so for sanitary reasons.
  • tinyraygun: The baby alien Doppler can wrap its tongue around objects and yank 'em with enough force to snatch it out of a grown brute's hand.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: In one episode, Jake used his long tongue to catch a falling egg a few feet away.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The bounty hunter Jun has a giant mole-like creature called a Shirshu that attacks with a whiplash from its tongue, which has a toxin that paralyzes its victim.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch: In the end of the match between Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler, Jagger stretches out his tongue to impale Tyler right through his guts, killing him.
  • Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologist: Tung often uses his elastic tongue as a weapon or an extra arm.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: The Eds have tongues strong enough that Eddy is able to balance on his.
  • Family Guy: Gene Simmons is often portrayed as having a multi-purpose tongue that he can extend at will.
  • Hero: 108: Mystique Sonia has several uses of her long tongue, like using as a lasso, a whip, and even a fan to blow her enemies away. At one point, it acted as a chainsaw.
  • Kaeloo: The eponymous character, being a Funny Animal frog, has used her tongue to snatch objects in certain episodes as a sort of Furry Reminder.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Bubbie's tongue is sometimes shown as being prehensile.
  • Men in Black: One of the antagonistic alien species is a sort of six-foot-tall anthropomorphic lizard-salamander thing. Apparently their tongues can be fired from their mouths with enough force to knock out a human being, among other uses.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • "Secret of My Excess": When he almost drops his sapphire cupcake on the ground, Spike saves it by extending his tongue to his own body length, catching it on its tip, and carefully reeling it back in.
    • "Between Dark and Dawn": Mr. Tortoise-Snap, a colossal tortoise, possess a long tongue that can coil around objects like a fully prehensile limb, which it uses to uproot full-grown trees to eat.
  • The Secret Saturdays: Drew Saturday's Evil Doppelgänger from another dimension has a prehensile tongue that she uses as a whip.
  • Seven Little Monsters: Five frequently uses his tongue to grasp objects his hands can't reach.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Darkness on Umbara", the vixus has a long tongue tipped with a clawed hang-like structure, which it uses to grab prey to drag into its mouth.
  • X-Men: Evolution: Toad of the Brotherhood can use his tongue (and other traits reflecting his codename) in combat.

    Real Life 
  • This trope technically applies to humans, as we use ours not only for processing food — the default job for tongues in the animal kingdom — but also for the completely unrelated task of shaping and modulating our speech.
  • Forked tongues of snakes and monitor lizards are that way because they help the animal smell things. Each tip of the fork picks up molecules from the air, which are drawn into the oral cavity where their vomeronasal organ can "sniff" it. Whichever tip smells more strongly of prey or danger, that's the direction the reptile moves towards or away from.
  • Cats have bristled tongues to maximize their usefulness for grooming purposes, as well as helping in scraping every last bit of meat from the bones of a kill.
  • Giraffes and okapis possess long, prehensile tongues strong enough to tear small branches off of trees to transport the leaf-covered sticks into their mouths. They're also used to clean their ears and noses.
  • Prey-capture is a very common secondary purpose to which animals put their tongues:
    • Chameleons have enormously long tongues (anywhere to half again as long as their owners to more than twice as long as the rest of the chameleon) made up of a complex springlike system of muscle and collagen, which they famously use to catch prey. When they do this, their tongues don't just stick to the target — they physically grab a solid hold of their prey and wrench it back into the chameleon's mouth.
    • Many amphibians also use their tongues as prey-capture appendages.
    • Specialized predators of ants and termites, particularly aardvarks, echidnas, pangolins, and anteaters, use extremely long slender tongues to collect large numbers of insects from their nests with every lick.
    • Woodpeckers and other birds adapted to feed on bark-boring beetles and grubs usually sport tongues coated with back-pointing bristles, with which to hook insects out of holes in wood.