Animals come in different sizes and shapes. Different animals are unique in their different ways, and some animals are naturally gifted in certain things more than others. Some animals have better sight, some have stronger teeth, some more speed, and so on. So too, when it comes to tails, some animals have extremely long tails, while some others do not have a tail at all.
The land animal having the longest tail is the giraffe. Despite being the tallest land animal and having the longest legs, the giraffe also doubles as having the longest tail. A giraffe’s tail measures about 3.3 feet in length: Adding the tuft, a giraffe can have a tail of up to 7 feet.
Why Are Giraffe Tails So Long?
Merely seeing them from afar, or seeing them in a photo, it would be hard to believe that a giraffe’s tail actually measures 7 feet in total. This is because their tails look short when compared to their long legs. But in actuality, they always measure between 6 – 8 feet for mature giraffes. The reason for the long tails is so that they (giraffes) can drive flies off their bodies effectively.
The giraffe’s tail is the longest in any animal, length-wise. However, if compared to the rest of its body, the giraffe’s tail turns out to be relatively short. There are many land animals that have tails that are extremely long, relative to their body. Some animals have tails that are up to 2 or 3 times their body length.
The giraffe may top the table in terms of overall tail length. However, it falls to the bottom of the table if the tail-body ratio is used as the basis for ranking. A giraffe’s tail-body ratio is just 0.6:1, whereas there are animals with a tail-body ratio of 2:1 or more.
Top 5 Land Animals With Longest Tails Relative To Their Body Length (Tail-body Ratio)
Asian Grass Lizard
When considering tail body ratio, the land animal that ends up having the longest tail with respect to its body is the Asian Grass Lizard. This lizard is small and measures only 12 inches in total length. However, out of this 12 inches, its actual body length is only 3 inches: The remaining six inches make up the entirety of its tail. This gives the animal a tail-body ratio of 3:1.
Studies show that the purpose of the Asian grass lizard’s long tail is so that it can gain balance and also ward off predators. At first, it may look like a snake due to its incredible length, but this creature has certain characteristics that are only found in lizards. For instance, it can detach its tail to distract a predator, and then grow it back later on, just like several other lizards and geckos do.
The long-eared Jerboa is a squirrel-like animal with a very small body of about 3 inches. This animal, however, has a long tail of about 6.5 inches, over 2 times the length of its body. One characteristic of this animal is that it is capable of making high and long jumps, you escape predators
The Jerboa has strong hind legs which it uses for jumping, although its long strong tail helps it achieve these incredible jumps too. The tail also helps in balancing the animal. At the end of the day, the Jerboa has a tail-body ratio of 2:1.
Slender Glass Lizard
This animal rightly derives its nature from its unique glassy appearance. Apart from its glassy appearance, another strangely unique thing about this lizard is that it doesn’t have any legs. However, it is still not classified as a snake because it doesn’t have all the characteristics of a snake.
A few traits of this animal that makes is classified under lizards include:
1. It can detach and regrow its tail (something only lizards can do)
2. It has moveable eyelids
3. It cannot open its mouth as wide as a snake normally would.
4. They don’t have snake venom
Be that as it may, this animal really looks like a snake at first glance, due to its long tail, which is almost impossible to differentiate from the rest of its body. The slender glass lizard has a body length of 10 inches, and a tail length of 20 inches, making a total length of 30 inches. Its tail-body ratio is 2:1.
These monkeys derive their name from their appearance. They look like spiders when they hang downwards from a tree by their tail. The spider monkey’s tail is not only long but also strong enough to allow the monkey to hang without any support from its hands and legs.
Spider monkeys have a total body length of about 51 inches, with a majority of that length coming from their length. A spider monkey’s tail can reach up to 1.9 times its body length. This strong tail aids these monkeys climb and leaping from branch to branch quickly, and also hanging from branches looking like spiders. They are common to the Amazon rainforest and the jungles of Central America.
Ring-tailed lemurs are natives of southwestern Madagascar. Its long, bushy tail is decorated with black rings and can grow up to 25 inches. The lemurs use this tail for balance and for assistance in travel. Lemurs and monkeys have a lot in common
Lemurs, however, have the ability to jump to heights of up to 10 feet: Their strong massive tails help make this possible. The overall length of a lemur is roughly 43 inches, with the tail taking up 25 inches of the total length. This results in a tail-body ratio of about 1.4:1.
Comparison Of Top Land Animals With Longest Tails
|Land Animal||Body Length||Tail Length||Total Length||Tail-body Length Ratio|
|Giraffe||96 inches||72 inches||168 inches||0.6 : 1|
|Ring-Tailed Lemur||17 inches||24 inches||41 inches||1.4 : 1|
|Spider Monkey||19 inches||32 inches||51 inches||1.7 : 1|
|Slender glass lizard||10 inches||20 inches||30 inches||2 : 1|
|Long-tailed Jerboa||3 inches||6.5 inches||9.5 inches||2.2 : 1|
|Asian grass lizard||3 inches||9 inches||12 inches||3 : 1|
What Animal Has The Highest Tail-body Ratio
The animal with the highest tail-body ratio is not a land animal or a sea animal, but a bird. This bird is called the long-tailed widow bird. The male long-tailed widow bird is the animal with the longest tail in relation to its body. It has a 9-inch body with a tail that measures about 3 feet (36 inches). In other words, it has a tail that’s 4 times the length of its body, making a tail-body ratio of 4:1. This bird can be found in Botswana, Namibia, and several countries in South Africa.