Why Do Animals Have tails?
QUESTION: Why do animals have tails?
Many animals have tails, and it may seem like a small extremity for us humans, but for the animals it really is a big deal. Different animals have tails for different reasons. What may help one animal may not be the purpose of another animal's tail.
Dogs and cats use their tails as one sign of emotion and communication. Body language is very important in the canine and feline world, and the wrong sign can cause a bad reaction. A ducked tail usually means fear, whereas an erect tail shows confidence.
Balance and equilibrium can, also, be contributed to an animal's tail.
Horses use their tails to swat flies away from their body's.
Some animals use their tails for balance. Actually, many animals use their tails for balance. Some gecko species use their tails as extra insurance when on vertical surfaces. Feline species use their tails for balance, as well, when they're jumping around on rocks and trees. Snow Leopards have the longest tail of any feline, which betters their balance while they move in the rugged mountainous environment.
Bird use their tails to stay balanced when not moving. The tail of the blue and gold macaws is extremely long as to offest the weight from their beak. Without the long tail, they would tip over when perching.
Aquatic animals and other animals that swim, use their tails like propellers to help move through the water with ease. Beavers, otters, fish, alligators, and sharks, are great examples of animals that use their tails to help movement in the water. The West African Dwarf Crocodile will tuck his legs under his body and use only his tail to propel through the water. Salmon, use their tails to up swim upstream to spawn.
On the other hand, birds will use their tails to help movement through the air when flying.
Some birds' have another purpose for their tail. Some birds such as peacocks, use their tails for aesthetic purposes when finding a mate. Males with the prettier, more ornate tail, tend to get the females faster than those with duller tails.
Many reptile species rely on their tail to run from predators. When a larger reptile or mammal grabs a smaller gecko species by the tail, the gecko can drop the tail and scurry away. Another replacement tail will usually grow back in case of another attack.
Animals have tails for different reasons. Each reason assisting their everyday life. Tails aid animals with balance, movement, defense, mating, and communication.