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Animals with extremely long tails
October 20, 2011 5:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for names of cool animals that have extremely long tails. All sorts of animals; the only requirement is that the tail is comically long.

Bonus points if they use their tails for things other than just balance, i.e. to hang from trees or hold stuff in some way.
posted by ferdinandcc to Pets & Animals (39 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ring-tailed lemur.
Diplodocus.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:29 AM on October 20, 2011


Snow leopards.
posted by orrnyereg at 5:35 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


More bonus points if you can name a mammal with a tail longer (percentage-wise) than the Coatimundi.

I seem to remember being taught about an animal with an extremely long tail when I was in the third grade. I remember always assuming that the animal from Marsupilami was one of these animals. But I can't, for the life of me, remember what it was. I don't even remember if it was more cat-like or more monkey-like. Just that it had a comically long tail that was used in interesting ways.

I'm open to discovering all sorts of animals that have astoundingly long tails, though. I'm doing a brainstorming session this weekend on a product, and would like to study as many long-tailed animals as I can before I go into it.
posted by ferdinandcc at 5:55 AM on October 20, 2011




Oh my! That does have quite an impressive tail! And it's at that certain level of cuteness where I don't know whether I want to adopt it, or put it in a nursing home.
posted by ferdinandcc at 6:01 AM on October 20, 2011


Quetzal Bird. Just the guys, mind. Classic case of sexual selection at work.
posted by Scientist at 6:02 AM on October 20, 2011


I'm a fan of the fossa - look at how long the tail is on this one! Their tails are about as long as the rest of their body length total.
posted by librarianamy at 6:03 AM on October 20, 2011


Have you ever met a genet? They have very long tails.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:04 AM on October 20, 2011


This mouse has what it takes.
posted by tjenks at 6:05 AM on October 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


ಠ_ರೃ Snakes.
posted by DisreputableDog at 6:05 AM on October 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


In terms of ratios, my guess is that the answer will be a small rodent of some sort. Maybe a jerboa?

On preview, same idea as tjenks.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:07 AM on October 20, 2011


Quetzels have ridiculously long tails, but they're also birds. Not sure if that counts!
posted by floweredfish at 6:17 AM on October 20, 2011


- I see I was beaten to the long-eared jerboa (a rodent, but not a mouse). They have tails about twice as long as their bodies, and are extremely adorable.
- The giraffe has the longest tail of any land mammal, though in absolute rather than proportional terms.
- Red Kangaroos use their tails as tripods for balance.
- Onadagori roosters have some wacky tail feathers going on.
- The Ribbon-tailed Astrapia has the longest tail in proportion to body size of any known bird.
- Glass lizards are limbless lizards that superficially resemble snakes. Their tails (which can break off) can make up 2/3rds of their total length.
- Crocodile monitor lizards also have tails 210% the length of their bodies (so again, about 2/3rds total length).
- Thresher sharks are named for their long tails, which they use to stun prey.
posted by bettafish at 6:18 AM on October 20, 2011


Oh, and I'm not sure how long spider monkey tails are in relation to colobus monkeys', but they're prehensile and hairless on the tip with grooves just like a fingerprint.
posted by bettafish at 6:24 AM on October 20, 2011


Oh man, I've seen that Onadagori rooster before, but forgot about it. So ridiculous.
posted by ferdinandcc at 6:26 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Long-tailed widowbird.
posted by pemberkins at 6:31 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Asian long-tailed lizard.
posted by pemberkins at 6:35 AM on October 20, 2011


Scissor-tailed flycatcher.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:36 AM on October 20, 2011


Long-tailed Tropicbirds
posted by DisreputableDog at 7:14 AM on October 20, 2011


Bird of paradise
posted by TedW at 7:20 AM on October 20, 2011


Bonus points if they use their tails for things other than just balance, i.e. to hang from trees or hold stuff in some way.

Animals with prehensile tails
posted by TedW at 7:22 AM on October 20, 2011


Tree kangaroos! Ridiculously long tails, which is awesome for climbing trees but apparently makes them "slow and clumsy" on the ground.
posted by Cimrmanova at 7:39 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Peacocks.
posted by wwax at 7:49 AM on October 20, 2011


I came in to plug the Black and White Colobus, but I see my job here is done.

I want to put in another vote for Ring Tailed Lemurs. As well as having deliciously long tails, they put them to pretty ingenious use: stink-fighting. Ring tailed lemurs (like many other prosimians) have scent glands on their butts, chests, and spurs of their arms. So when two males get frustrated at eachother, they rub their tails all over the scent glands, and then waft their tails at eachother until someone is intimidated by the impressive stink of the other and runs off. It's narrated with excitement by a lady in this video, too.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:26 AM on October 20, 2011


Apatosaurus, if you don't mind extinct species.
posted by Anything at 8:36 AM on October 20, 2011


Sugar gliders have tails that are longer than their bodies; they are semi-prehensile and occasionally used as scarf.
posted by Specklet at 8:51 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh! I forgot my favorite lemur, the Fat Tailed Dwarf Lemur. They have pretty long tails which they use to store fat to survive off of while they hibernate during the dry season.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:29 AM on October 20, 2011


Long-tailed macaque! It's even in the name!
posted by illenion at 9:37 AM on October 20, 2011


Woolly monkeys also have a pretty fancy long prehensile tail. (Also they look like this as babies, which is just a bonus.)
posted by illenion at 9:48 AM on October 20, 2011


Tamanduá-bandeira, or flag-anteater, named after its huge tail that resembles a flag
posted by Tom-B at 10:13 AM on October 20, 2011


Tarsier: 1 2 3 skeleton

The gulper eel (1 2) has a bio-luminescent bulb at the end of it's tail, to attract prey.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:46 AM on October 20, 2011


Sifaka
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:03 AM on October 20, 2011


Kinkajou. Not a cat, not a primate, and this one is baffled by the luxuriousness of his own tail.
posted by clavicle at 11:16 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fork-tailed flycatcher has the longest tail in proportion to its body of any bird...
posted by Specklet at 12:20 PM on October 20, 2011


Also, if you're interested the word for "having a long tail" is macrural, or macrurous. Of or pertaining to the Macrura (division of zoology which includes lobsters, prawn, shrimp).
posted by DisreputableDog at 1:43 PM on October 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks everyone! I've got a long list to study ahead of the brainstorming session now. I knew Ask Metafilter would save the day. You guys are the best.
posted by ferdinandcc at 6:36 PM on October 20, 2011


@clavicle, I believe it was the Kinkajou I was trying to think of earlier, which we'd studied in third grade before it locked away in some far away part of my brain that I'd apparently lost the key to. Thanks!
posted by ferdinandcc at 6:39 PM on October 20, 2011


Metafilter: Baffled by the luxuriousness.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 8:31 PM on October 20, 2011


Gray Leaf Monkey
posted by roofus at 7:42 AM on October 21, 2011


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