Why do animals have tails

We may not realize the importance of a tail as humans do not have one, but rest assured that a tail is a very important and useful body part for animals that do have them. Although animals from different biological categories have tails, the purpose of the tail may differ widely from one species to another. What this means is that though both the crocodile and the elephant may have tails, but they serve different purposes for the animals.

Some animals like dogs and cats use their tail as a way to communicate via body language. For example, when canines or felines are scared, they lower their tail and tuck it in-between their legs to show signs of fear and submission. The same tail, when erected up above their body, depicts confidence in these animals. A bigger cat, the snow leopard has a very long tail and it uses its tail for balancing its body as well, when moving through precarious regions especially. Aquatic and amphibious creatures like crocodiles, otters and fishes use their tail in a different manner. They use their tail to assist swimming when in water. Birds use their feathery tails mainly to help themselves control their movement while flying, but some of the bigger birds like macaws also use their long tails to balance themselves while they sit perched on a branch. The usefulness of a bird’s tail does not end with flying and balancing alone as the male peacocks use their beautiful display of tail feathers to attract females for mating purposes. Certain lizards use their tails to balance themselves while some of them lose it in order to distract a predator when attacked. Cows, horses and elephants mainly use their tails to swat flies, mosquitoes and other insects on or near their back.

All animals that have a tail have some use of it or the other, be it balancing, moving, communicating, attracting or distracting. The tail of an animal is also formed in such a way so as to benefit the animal’s specific causes; the beautiful peacock tail for attracting and the easily detachable tail of the gecko for distracting, both are designed by nature in such a way that they benefit the particular animals.