12 Awesome Animals With Long Tails! with Pictures!

Last updated on February 5th, 2022

Being an aunt is not easy! I find that my five-year-old nephew and seven-year-old niece are quick to ask me strange questions, but it’s expected from kids their age, especially after we visit someplace new.

Recently I took them to a petting zoo (it might be a local farm in disguise), and they were overjoyed. They loved to see the cows, goats, sheep, and other animals there.

Animals with long tails:

  • Cattle
  • Mountain Lions
  • German Shepherds
  • Stingrays
  • Cats
  • Anteaters
  • Iguanas
  • Pangolins
  • Ring-tailed Lemurs
  • Long-tailed widow birds
  • Black Spider Monkeys
  • Eastern Glass Lizard
  • Jerboas
  • Astrapias

What intrigued them the most were the tails of the animals. Some had long tails, some short, and some bushy. My niece then tasked me with the question, what animals have long tails? It was an intriguing question, and it got me thinking.

12. Cow

cow long tail 16102021

You must have seen cows swishing their long tails. The tail of a cow is long with a tuft at the end.

A cow’s tail is usually 89-96 cm long (35-38 inches) whereas a calf’s tail is usually 30-41 cm (12-16 inches).

A cow’s tail plays a crucial role in swishing away the flies and helping the cow relax while chewing on the cud.

In the case of dairy farming, farmers often consider the swishing of the tail as a method of communication.

For example, if a cow is angry, it will swish its tail faster and quicker, indicating that it will kick. Thus, the long tail of a cow serves several purposes, and it is not just a mere appendage.

11. Mountain Lions

mountain lion long tail 16102021

Mountain lions are easily distinguishable by their long tails. A mountain lion is nearly 7-9 feet in length.

But if you see the size of a mountain lion, you will find that the creature’s tail accounts for almost three feet of the length of its body.

Moreover, the tail of a mountain lion is easily distinguishable by its black tip. A male mountain lion’s tail is usually 27-36 inches long whereas the female’s tail is usually 25-31 inches long.

The swishing of the tail of the mountain lion is not only an indication that it is going to hunt, but it is also an involuntary predatory movement.

The tail of a mountain lion is long enough to give it more balance while being able to jump longer distances.

The mountain lion can maintain its balance even on rocky terrain by swishing the tail side to side.

10. German Shepherds

german shepherd long tail 16102021

The German Shepherd is a breed of dog that is easily distinguishable by its long and bushy tail.

The tail of a german shepherd is usually 22-26 inches long.

You can easily distinguish the behavior of a German Shepherd by watching the movement of its tail.

For example, if you see the dog’s tail lowered, it means that he is feeling relaxed and comfortable.

Similarly, if the tail is raised and straight up, it means the dog feels confident and happy.

Finally, if you see the German Shepherd wagging his tail, this means that he is comfortable. Thus, the tail of a German Shepherd is not just an appendage that it uses for balance but also to communicate its mood.

9. Kangaroos

kangaroo long tail 16102021

The tail of a kangaroo acts like an extra limb and is an essential part of its body. If you carefully observe the tail of a kangaroo, you will see that it is broad, long, and strong.

The tail is not only used for balancing its body but to also help it move forward.

It is a common notion that kangaroos hop on their hind limbs. But the tail provides the creature with the power to move forward.

The tail and the hind limbs give the kangaroo the necessary energy and strength to hop on and this is partly due to the length of their tail being 89-109 cm (35-43 inches).

When the kangaroo has moved forward, the tail helps it maintain its balance so that it does not fall over.

Thus, the long tail of the kangaroo plays a crucial role in helping the animal keep its balance.

8. Stingrays

stingray long tail 16102021

The stingray is a cartilaginous fish that is easily distinguished by its long and sharp tail. If you closely observe the stingray’s tail, you will find that it is also jagged at the edge.

The average length of a stingray’s tail is 24 inches which equates to 2 feet or 61 cm.

The movement of a stingray is unlike other fishes as it has an undulating motion, and some marine experts believe that the tail further allows them to maneuver around in this motion.

But the primary objective of the tail of the stingray’s tail is to protect the creature from the attacks of predators.

The stingray’s stinger is also located on its tail and is used only for its protection. The stinger contains the venom which the stingray releases when it senses danger.

7. Cats

cat with long fluffy tail 16102021

Typical house cats also tend to have long tails, while particular cats have even longer tails than their bodies.

For example, the Maine Coon, Egyptian Mau, and Chartreux are breeds of cats known to have unusually long tails.

Each species uses its long tail for a specific purpose. For example, the Maine Coon, uses its long and bushy tail to wrap around itself while also keeping itself warm in cold weather.

In most cases, cats use their tails for balance and to help them become better hunters. When a cat jumps, it usually swishes its tail to ensure that it lands on its feet.

The tail helps the cat to maintain its balance and keep its weight centered. 

The constant swoosh of a cat’s tail is also its way of communicating and showing affection to its owner.

The average length of a cat’s tail is 12 inches (30 cm).

6. Anteaters

anteater long tail 16102021

Anteaters are found in South and Central America, where it is known for being extremely hot. The creature sometimes uses its tail to shade itself from the scorching sun.

Sometimes the tail is also used to provide them with balance as the creature curls its claws while walking.

The anteater’s tail is long and bushy, and it usually has an average length of 24-37 inches (2-3 feet).

The creature needs a heavy and thick tail to give its entire body adequate support, even with curled front limbs. For that, the anteater has a bushy and thick tail.

5. Iguanas

iguana long tail 16102021

The tail of an Iguana is a unique limb of the creature. If you have observed the tail of an iguana, you will notice that it is spiked right down, and the beast uses it as a defense mechanism.

The iguana lashes out the tail with great force against any predator. You will also see the iguana lashing its tail whenever it senses danger.

The twitching of the tail is an indication of the animal intending to attack. Thus, the creature uses its tail for multiple functions other than the regular ones, such as balancing and helping it to climb trees.

Another unique feature of the tail of an iguana is its ability to regenerate. If for some reason, a predator or any other creature catches an iguana by its tail, it will break its tail and flee. The iguana can then regenerate its tail over a period.

Additionally, the tail of an iguana has an average length of 4 inches.

4. Pangolins

pangolin 11 08 2021

A pangolin’s tail usually has an average length of 16-18 inches (40-45 cm).

The long and scaly tails easily distinguish the long-tailed pangolins. You will see these creatures with their tails extended way beyond their body.

The long-tailed pangolin is native to central and western Africa.

The prehensile tail of the pangolin acts as a limb, which the animal uses to balance itself. You will often find a pangolin on the nook of a tree.

Sometimes pangolins use their tails to dangle themselves and move from one branch of a tree to another. 

3. Ring-Tailed Lemurs

ring tailed lemur 16102021

The ring-tailed lemur is larger than other lemurs and can be distinguished by its long tail. The average size of a ring-tailed lemur is 39-46 cm.

Compared to the head-to-body length of the lemur, the length of the lemur’s tail is 56-63 cm long (22-25 inches). 

The tail of the lemur is very important because it uses this body part to jump from one branch to another. The tail helps the lemur helps the animal maintain its balance while it makes the jump. 

Additionally, this creature is native to the southwestern side of Madagascar.

2. Long-Tailed Widowbird

long tailed widowbird 16102021

Its overlong tail easily distinguishes the long-tailed widowbird. Compared to its medium-sized body, the tail of the male widowbird is unusually long.

The long tail of the widowbird is used as a tool to attract female widow birds. Some of the tail feathers of the widowbird can extend up to half a meter.

The total number of feathers in a long-tailed widowbird is 12 and the average length of its tail is 50 cm.

Furthermore, this bird species is native to some areas of Africa like Zambia, Angola, Kenya, and South Africa.

1. Black Spider Monkey

black spider monkey long tail 16102021

The average length of the black spider monkey’s tail is 71-86 cm (28-34 inches).

The black spider monkey has a prehensile tail that helps it hang onto the trees’ branches. The tail of the black spider monkey acts like its fifth limb.

The long tail of the black spider monkey has no hair on the underside. This makes it easier for the monkey to hold onto the branches of the trees.

This is unlike other species of monkeys, which usually use their forelimbs to hang onto the branches.

This creature is native to South America and can be found around the Amazon river.


The animals that have long tails are cows, mountain lions, german shepherds,  stingrays, cats, anteaters, iguanas, pangolins, ring-tailed lemurs, long-tailed widow birds, the black spider monkeys, eastern glass lizards, jerboas, and astrapias.

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