Have you ever seen an animal with a really long tail? Some tails can be up to half the length of the animal’s body.
Animals typically use their tail for balance, agility, and communication, which is why they’re often seen on animals that live in trees.
Here are 10 extraordinary animals with some of the longest tails in the animal kingdom.
List of Animals With Long Tails
Many animals have long tails that they use for balance, communication, or to show their mood. Here are some examples of animals with long tails:
- Ring-Tailed Lemur
- Spider Monkey
- Red Kangaroo
- Angola Colobus
- Thresher Shark
- Leopard Whipray
- Howler Monkey
- Long-Tailed Grass Lizard
Related: List of 10 Animals Without Tails
1. Ring-Tailed Lemur
|Scientific Name||Lemur catta|
|Common Name||Ring-tailed Lemur|
|Diet||Leaves, insects, flowers|
|Habitat||Arid, open areas and forests|
The ring-tailed lemur is a large strepsirrhine primate and the most recognized lemur due to its long, black and white ringed tail. It is endemic to the island of Madagascar and inhabits the gallery forests of the southern regions.
The ring-tailed lemur is listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List due to habitat destruction and hunting for bushmeat and the pet trade.
They’re small animals, with a body length of about 40 to 45 cm (16 to 18 in) and weight of 2.0 to 3.5 kg (4.4 to 7.7 lb). It has grey-brown fur with white bands on the underside of the tail and a black band running along the length of the tail. The face is white with black around the eyes and nose.
Adult males have a dominant scent gland on their wrists which they use to mark their territory.
2. Spider Monkey
|Common Name||Spider Monkey|
|Diet||Fruits, leaves, seeds, nuts, arachnids, insects|
|Habitat||Healthy tropical rainforests|
The spider monkey is a species of New World monkey that is native to Central and South America. The spider monkey gets its name from its long, thin tail which they use to swing from tree to tree.
Spider monkeys are one of the largest monkeys in the Americas and can weigh up to 9 kg (20 lb). They are diurnal animals and spend most of their time in the trees. They are very social animals and live in groups of up to 40 individuals.
Despite their size, spider monkeys are excellent climbers and can even hang upside down from branches using their tails. Their diet consists mainly of fruits, flowers, and leaves but they also eat insects and small vertebrates.
The spider monkey is an important part of the rainforest ecosystem and plays a role in seed dispersal and pollination. Unfortunately, the spider monkey is threatened by habitat loss and hunting and is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
3. Red Kangaroo
|Scientific Name||Rangifer tarandus|
|Common Name||Red Kangaroo|
|Diet||Green grass, herbage|
|Habitat||Deserts and open grasslands|
The Red Kangaroo is the largest of all kangaroos, the largest terrestrial mammal native to Australia, and one of the largest marsupials in the world. Fully grown red kangaroos can reach a height of up to 6.6 ft (2 meters) and weigh around 200 lb (90 kg).
The Red Kangaroo’s coat is generally a dark reddish-brown, with lighter reds on the sides of its belly and its forearms. Its habitat is in dry inland areas of Australia. It typically inhabits woodlands, grasslands, and deserts.
This animal is an iconic symbol of Australia, appearing on the Australian coat of arms and on various coins. It is also featured prominently in Australian Aboriginal mythology and culture.
Adapted to survive, the kangaroo has developed large, powerful hind legs used for leaping, as well as for locomotion at slower speeds. The tail is used primarily for balance, but can also be used as a weapon or tool.
|Habitat||Semi-arid savannah and savannah woodlands|
Giraffes are a genus of African even-toed ungulate mammals, the tallest living terrestrial animals, and the largest ruminants. They also have the longest tails of all mammals in the world.
The genus consists of eleven or more species including Giraffa camelopardalis, the type species. Seven of these species are extinct, prehistoric species known from fossils. Taxonomic classifications of one to eight extant giraffe species have been described, based on research into the skeletal and molecular evidence.
The Giraffa genus is classified under the family Giraffidae, along with its closest extant relative, the okapi. There are eight other species in the family: three from Africa:
- The okapi
- The Nubian giraffe
- The Kordofan giraffe)
And five from South Asia:
- The Indian giraffe
- The Sri Lankan giraffe
- The Giraffa Camelopardalis Peralta
- The reticulated giraffe
- The Masai giraffe
5. Angola Colobus
|Scientific Name||Colobus angolensis|
|Common Name||Angola Colobus|
|Diet||Stems, flowers, barks, flowers, buds, fruits, shoots|
|Habitat||Lowland forests, bamboo forests, upland montane|
The Angola colobus is a species of primate native to the forests of western and central Africa. The Angola colobus is an arboreal creature, meaning it spends most of its time in trees.
This species is known for its long tail, which can be up to three times the length of its body. The Angola colobus is a herbivore, and its diet consists primarily of leaves.
The Angola colobus is an endangered species, due to habitat loss and hunting pressure. The species is hunted for its meat and for its beautiful fur, which is often used to make clothing and other items. The Angola colobus is also threatened by the bushmeat trade, as this species is often sold as food.
As a shy and elusive creature, little is known about its behavior in the wild. However, this species is known to be social, and groups of Angola colobus monkeys often live together in large troops.
6. Thresher Shark
|Common Name||Thresher Shark|
|Diet||Small schooling fish such as herring, menhaden, and mackerel|
|Habitat||Coastal and oceanic waters|
The thresher shark is a large pelagic fish that is found in all the world’s oceans. It is easily recognizable by its long, whip-like tail which can be as long as the rest of its body. The thresher shark is an apex predator and feeds on a variety of smaller fish and squid.
Although it is a feared predator, the thresher shark is not considered to be dangerous to humans. There have been no recorded attacks on humans by thresher sharks and they are generally shy and elusive creatures.
The thresher shark is listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to overfishing and bycatch. The main threats to thresher sharks are commercial fishing, including longline and gillnet fisheries, as well as recreational fishing.
|Diet||Termites, larvae, ants|
|Habitat||Forests and grasslands|
Pangolin is the common name for a group of scaly anteaters. The eight extant species are in two genera, Smutsia and Phataginus. These animals are native to Africa and Asia.
A pangolin’s most distinctive feature is its large scales. These cover its body like armor and protect it from predators, all the way from the head to the tail.
Pangolins are nocturnal animals. They live in trees or burrows and can climb well. They have long, sharp claws with which they can dig into termite mounds and anthills to catch their prey. Pangolins eat mainly ants and termites, which they capture with their long tongues.
Pangolins are threatened by habitat loss and hunting. They are heavily poached for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, and for their scales, which are used in traditional medicine. Pangolins are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
8. Leopard Whipray
|Scientific Name||Himantura leoparda|
|Common Name||Leopard Whipray|
|Diet||Shrimps, crabs, shelled invertebrates|
|Habitat||Subtropical/ tropical seas|
The Leopard Whipray (Himantura leopard) is a species of stingray in the family Dasyatidae, found in the shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific region. It is characterized by its large size, long and whiplike tail, and spotted black-and-white coloration.
This stingray is an apex predator, feeding on a variety of smaller fishes and invertebrates. It is one of the largest stingrays, reaching a length of up to 3.5 m (11 ft). It has a broad, diamond-shaped pectoral fin disc with rounded corners and an angular snout. The eyes are small and located on the ventral (underside) surface of the head, behind the spiracles.
There are 2-4 small pores on the floor of each nostril. The mouth is large and arched, with 3 rows of teeth in each jaw; the outer row contains narrow, saw-like cusps, while the inner two rows have blunt molariform (molar-like) teeth.
Leopard Whiprays have long and whiplike tails, typically longer than the disc. They have a dorsal (upper) fin fold and a ventral (lower) fin fold, both of which are equipped with serrated spines. The sting is located near the base of the tail and is capable of inflicting serious wounds.
9. Howler Monkey
|Common Name||Howler Monkey|
|Diet||Leaves, fruits, flowers, nuts|
|Habitat||Primary, arid deciduous, broadleaf forests|
Howler monkeys are found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. They get their name from the loud howling noises they make, which can be heard up to 3 miles away! Howler monkeys have long tails that they use for balance when they swing from tree to tree.
They are also excellent swimmers and can often be seen swimming in rivers and lakes. Howler monkeys are mostly herbivorous, eating leaves, flowers, and fruits. However, they will also eat insects, eggs, and small animals on occasion.
Howler monkeys are social animals that live in groups of up to 40 individuals. These groups are led by a dominant male who controls the other members through a combination of physical aggression and vocal intimidation.
While they are relatively slow and clumsy on the ground, they are very agile in the trees. They are also able to leap up to 30 feet from one tree to another!
10. Long-Tailed Grass Lizard
|Scientific Name||Takydromus sexlineatus|
|Common Name||Long-tailed Grass Lizard|
|Diet||Variety of invertebrates and insects|
|Habitat||Heavily planted savannah regions|
The long-tailed grass lizard (Takydromus sexlineatus) is a species of lizard in the family Lacertidae. The species is native to East Asia and is found in China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan.
The long-tailed grass lizard is a small lizard with a long tail. Adults typically grow to a total length (including tail) of 15–20 cm (6–8 in). The body is slender and the head is small. The lizard is brown or gray with three dark stripes running along the body from the neck to the tail.
The long-tailed grass lizard is found in open habitats such as grasslands, meadows, and forest edges. The lizard is active during the day and feeds on insects. The long-tailed grass lizard is a relatively common species with a large range. The species is not considered to be at risk of extinction.
What Is the Land Mammal Longest Tail?
The longest tail on a land mammal belongs to the giraffe. The tail of typical giraffe measures around 2 meters in length.
How Does the Giraffe Use Its Long Tail?
The long tail is used for balance when running and walking, and also serves as a communication tool. Giraffes will often wrap their tails around trees to help them browse at height. The tail is also used as a fly swatter to keep pesky insects at bay!
Do Other Animals Have Long Tails?
Yes, some animals have longer tails than others. For example, the kangaroo has a tail that can measure up to 1 meter in length, while the prehensile-tailed skink has a tail that can reach up to 60 centimeters.