Why do animals have tails?
  • Animals have tails for lots of different reasons - for balance, warmth or shade, as a fly swat, as a rudder for direction, a form of protection and even for talking.
  • Some monkeys use their tail as a fifth limb for holding on to branches while they use their hands for getting food.
  • Cats and dogs use their tails for Ďtalkingí. The way they hold their tail can tell you how theyíre feeling.
  • Animals like cows and horses use their tails as fly swats.
  • Crocodiles use their powerful tails to protect themselves by thrashing it around like a big club.
  Did You Know?
  • A hippopotamus uses it tail in a very interesting way. It uses it to spread its poo around. This is a way of showing other hippos that Ďthis is my area!í
  • Birds like peacocks use their tails to show off and say "hey, arenít I gorgeous!"
  • Animals that live in cold places often have a fat bushy tail that they can use like blankets to help keep them warm.
  • Animals like kangaroos use their strong tails for balance and protection.
  • Fish use their tails to push them through the water and animals like the muskrat and otter use their tails like rudders to steer through the water.
Watch the tail of your pet dog, or cat. What are they telling you with their tail? What does it mean it a dogís tail is wagging? How about if itís curled down between itís legs? Is the dog happy then?
What about your cat - watch it when itís about to pounce on something like a toy or a piece of string. What does its tail do?
What animal has a tail that can drop off when itís being attacked? You might have one in your garden. Why would it want a tail that could do that do you think? Think about the kinds of animals that would want to eat this animal.
Tell me the story about the giant giraffe with the tail as long as a bus. Nah thatís just a tall tail.

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