Don Moore, director of the Oregon Zoo in Portland says: “Monkeys and other apes lean down to drink, but the southeast Asian gibbons drink water through cupped hands, especially if these acrobats are hanging upside down in a tree.”
Research from Virginia Tech in 2015 found dogs form a cup—sort of—with their tongues: They curl their tongues toward themselves in a kind of ladle. A column of water splashes upwards, and they grab that while taking in what tongue catches.
In a 2012 study David Cundall of Lehigh University and colleagues found that some species drink via capillary action, the same mechanism by which water climbs from roots to leaves in plants. Take a look at snakes. Snakes have skin folds in their lower jaw that expand to accommodate large prey. When they put their mouths in the water, those skin folds expand and absorb the liquid like a sponge via capillary action, then muscles squeeze it down into the gut.
“It doesn’t look like they are doing much of anything,” Moore says.
I some hash areas such as in the desert, where there’s little water to be had, animals come up with very innovative ways to collect it. Katy Prudic, an entomologist at the University of Arizona says: “The Namibian desert beetle has this complex micro-sculpture on its exoskeleton where it will collect dew from the air”.
Another way to collect water in desert is soaking up water like the Sandgrouses do. Each day, the male commutes to a water hole, where he’ll sit and rock back and forth. He’s soaking up water in his specialized belly feathers, which have a coiled barbule which makes them extra spongey. They can hold up to 1.35 ounces, or 2.7 tablespoons, compared to other birds at .0002 ounces. The papa sandgrouse then returns to the nest, bringing back water for his young in his soaked feathers. When fog rolls into the desert, about six times a month, the beetle will stand with its butt in the air, letting those structures on its back capture moisture and funnel it down into their mouths.
Thorny devils can also drink through their feet. Micro-structures between their scary scales act like little straws, using the force of capillary action to pull in water from moist sand.
With some of insects, Prudic says: “Butterflies have their own personal drinking straw”, a long proboscis through which they drink nectar, but some bugs drink other bugs, particularly to aphids. Adult green lacewings are dainty, delicate little insects, “but as kids they are just terrors,” Prudic says, “[Lacewings’] mandibles are these hollow straws, and they just walk up to an aphid and they just pierce them on one on each side and just suck them dry.”