Most four-legged animals do have tails.They might
use them for balance when jumping or running. If
you're out in the yard on a summer evening, often
you can see rats running along the power lines.
Their tails help them balance themselves when they
do this. Flying squirrels and kangaroo rats use
their tails as rudders. They can change direction
in mid-air. Dogs use tails for communication.
Some animals have "prehensile" tails, meaning they
can grab things with their tail. Many monkeys can
do this. (Check out some monkeys with prehensile
There is also a prehensile tailed skink (a
kind of lizard). Cows and horses swat away flies
with their tails. Can you think of any other
Some of us are "tail impaired".
Bears, and hamsters are some of the animals with
very small tails. Frogs, chimps and gorillas are
with us in the no-tail category. But if you look
at a picture of a human embryo that's under abut 7
weeks old, you will see that we all had tails at
one point. We just lose them before we're born.
We still have the tiny tailbones but they're not
visible from the outside. Why do you think some
species don't have tails?
Click Here to return to the search form.