7 Awesome Animals That Don’t Have Tails!

Last updated on February 4th, 2022

I thought that human beings didn’t have tails, but I was surprised when my doctor told me that I was suffering from tailbone pain.

The tailbone or the coccyx is the last few bones of the vertebrae. After I came back from the doctor’s office, I began researching the coccyx and discovered an unusual fact about it.

As we evolved, we lost the need to use the tail to help us balance, however, quite a few animals that don’t have tails have lost the use for them as well.

Animals that don’t have tails:

  • Toads
  • Gorillas
  • Octopuses
  • Chimpanzees
  • Starfishes
  • Spiders
  • Orangutans

While we are all familiar with the well-known animals with tails such as dogs, cats, birds, rats, and so on, here are some lesser-known animals that don’t have tails.

Here are seven animals that don’t have any tail:

1. Toads

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Toads are amphibians, and they, like frogs, are born from eggs and hatch into tadpoles.

Tadpoles have tails that help them swim in the water, but as tadpoles mature into toads, the tail disappears.

Toads like frogs and other similar amphibians do not have tails and it’s clear to see that they don’t need it to swim when they’re in the water.

Additionally, some toads tend to be darker in color when compared to frogs.

Furthermore, toads also have parotoid glands that help them release poisonous secretions to fend off predators.

Finally, if you observe a toad, you’ll find that it has strong hind legs. It can jump high on its hind legs, and it doesn’t need a tail to balance itself when it lands on the surface.

Thus, as the amphibian evolved, it lost the need for a tail, so toads don’t have tails.

2. Gorillas

Mountain gorilla in bamboo forest

The primary use of a tail is to help the animal balance itself. When you see monkeys, you’ll find that they sometimes use their tails to move from one branch to another.

But that would be the first mistake you would make with gorillas. They aren’t monkeys! You see, they’re more of the primate animal species.

The tail is almost like a limb that helps the monkey climb. But gorillas and other basal apes don’t need tails to help them climb.

Many gorillas can stand upright, and they have excellent upper body strength.

Although you’ll often find a gorilla on four limbs, i.e., on the fore and hind limbs, they don’t need the help of a tail to provide any additional support.

Along with that, when a gorilla climbs a tree, it’ll extend its fore and hind limbs to climb the tree and doesn’t need a tail to help it balance itself like a monkey or other primates.

Evolution lost the need for a tail, much like human beings, and hence, you’ll not find gorillas with tails. 

3. Octopus

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The octopus is another creature that doesn’t have a tail. It’s a common idea that octopuses have eight limbs, but none of these are legs.

The eight arms of an octopus provide it with natural buoyancy and complete ease of movement, and this marine creature doesn’t require a tail to give it any additional balance or support.

When you think of an animal living in the sea, you usually associate it with having a tail that helps to steer or maneuver in a particular direction.

But the octopus doesn’t need a tail to do it as its arms can help the creature move in any direction it wants.

You might be surprised to know that octopuses can weigh up to fifteen kilograms which is the equivalent of 33 pounds, but that doesn’t prevent this creature from being expert swimmers.

4. Chimpanzees

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Another category of primates that don’t have tails is chimpanzees. These creatures are smaller in size, and you’d expect them to be related to the monkeys.

But in reality, they’re more closely related to apes than you’d think. These intelligent animals are known to enjoy swimming, live in groups, and have family bonds.

Chimpanzees are one of the closest non-human relatives. Unlike other primates, chimpanzees are omnivores.

In most cases, they prefer to live on a plant-based diet, but they can adapt and consume animal-based food items if necessary.

It’s probably this ability of chimpanzees that led to the particular species losing the requirement of their tail.

Tails are usually used to grapple things on the ground or the trees.

But with the highly developed forelimbs, the chimpanzee doesn’t need a tail since it can easily hold its food with the help of its hands.

5. Starfish

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The starfish is another marine creature that can move and swim in the sea without the help of a tail.

When you think of a fish, you usually associate it with having a triangular tail. But a starfish moves with the use of tubes and suction.

The cells from the tubes attached to the five limbs of the starfish helped produce adhesion which allows the animal to connect itself to the rock or the sea bed, and the creature can then crawl across the surface of the object.

It’s a common notion that the suction process slows down the starfish, but in reality, if it wishes, it can move quite swiftly.

The lack of a tail doesn’t make much of a difference. Instead, a tail would’ve only hampered its movement.  

However, this doesn’t mean that the animal can’t steer or direct itself.

The starfish has several eyes, which helps it choose the direction in which it wants to move. It has eyes on the end of each of its arms, which allows it to see from different angles.

Therefore it doesn’t need any tail to direct itself or maneuver underwater. Its arms are capable of helping it to effortlessly swim around.

6. Spider

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Spiders are another category of animals that don’t have tails. Belonging to the arachnid family, this unique creature doesn’t need a tail.

A spider has eight legs and is adept at climbing any object. The eight legs of a spider are capable of supporting the weight of the creature.

Along with that, if it spins a web, then you’ll know that no matter how delicate these webs look, they have excellent tensile strength.

The webs are strong enough to hold the spider’s weight and not break when the spider hangs from the web that it has spun.

As the spider evolved, it slowly lost the requirement of a tail to support itself while it climbed an object.

With evolution, its eight legs and the web became sufficient to support the weight of the spider.

Thus, even though you’ll find fossilized remains of spiders with flagellums, these were primarily used to identify prey.

But as the spider evolved, it started to trap its prey in the web that was spun. This became the spider’s method of hunting for its prey.

The spider stopped hunting for prey directly. Instead, it spun a web and waited for prey to get trapped in the web.

This reduced the requirement for a flagellum and subsequently anything resembling a tail.

Therefore you won’t find any spider now that has a tail or anything resembling a tail.

7. Orangutans

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These beautiful orange-reddish apes found in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra also do not have tails. But you’ll quickly see these primates swinging from one tree to another.

An orangutan is one of the giant arboreal apes found in South Asia and is indeed one of the most exotic animals found in the world.

A unique characteristic about this animal is that it’s wholly herbivorous and spends most of its time in the trees.

Given the fact that an orangutan’s arms can almost reach its heels when it stands upright, it naturally uses its hands to swing from one branch to another or even from one tree to another.

Similarly, if you observe the palm of an orangutan, you’ll find that its fingers are also quite long and powerful for a strong grip.

This means it can grasp an object quickly with its hand. As a result, an orangutan doesn’t need a tail to help it swing from the branch of one tree to another.

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