Do Bears Have Tails? Is It A 'Bare Necessity' For Them? | Kidadl


Do Bears Have Tails? Is It A 'Bare Necessity' For Them?

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

You must have noticed that some animals have tails, but have you ever wondered why?

While land animals use their tails to brush away dirt, flies, and insects, arboreal animals use their prehensile tails to grasp tree branches. Animals like cats and kangaroos find balance while jumping with their tails, whereas fish use their tails or caudal fins to create thrust under the water.

Did you know that the brown bear is the national symbol of a European country? Yes, brown bears are the national animal of Finland. Also, bears are a symbol of peace, love, and strength. Bears are known for their extraordinary intelligence and care for their family.

Bears around the world are classified into several species, which include the North American Black bears or Spirit bears (Ursus americanus), Brown bears (Ursus americanus), and Polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Several other bear species in the world include Asiatic black bears, moon bears or Himalayan black bears (Ursus thibetanus), Andean bears or spectacled bears (Tremarctos ornatus), Panda bears (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus or Ursus ursinus), and Sun bears (Ursus malayanus).

While bears are among the largest mammals, Polar bears have tails that are comparatively shorter in size than their bodies. On the other hand, Giraffes have the longest tails of up to 8 ft (2.4 m). Are you wondering why do bears, like Black and Polar bears, have tails so small in size? Its evolution. Yes, the process of evolution can justify the small size of the bear's tail. It is probably because a tail serves no purpose for bears, unlike monkeys, giraffes, or kangaroos. Therefore, it is not known whether bears will always have a tail or not! Read on to find more about these flexible appendages to the bear's torso!

If you enjoy this article, why not also read about Do bears eat honey? and bear lifespan here on Kidadl?

Why do bears have short tails?

You might believe that all mammals have tails, long or short, but do you have one? You are a mammal, but you cannot find a tail on any people living throughout the world. Although bears do not have long tails, unlike a Giraffe, bears do have tails that are usually small in length, measuring not more than a few inches. Compared to the large body size of a bear, it has a very short tail. While a long tail helps maintain balance and protects the animal from flies and biting insects, confused what purpose does a short tail serve?

Like a kangaroo and a cat uses its long tail to maintain balance while jumping, a fish uses its tail to gain momentum in water. Similarly, land animals like a giraffe, fox, or deer use their tails to brush off biting insects or flies, whereas a monkey or an opossum uses its tail to grasp tree branches. Bears, including black and polar bears, have vestigial tails, meaning that their tail is rather functionless.

Why is the Polar bear's tail so small?

A long time ago or as many as a million years back, bears were known to have a different tail, although no fossil remains support the same. Yes, species of the bear, including Black and Polar bears, do have tails, but we may not know if bears will always have a tail or not, as with time, the length of the tail has begun decreasing. While a bear may have had a long tail many years back, it now has a tiny tail compared to the large body size of the bears.

Did you know Polar bears have tails relatively smaller in contrast to their massive size? While a bear is one of the largest mammals, polar bears are the largest bears. Polar bears have tails, but they are often unnoticeable as its tail is about 3-5 in (7-13 cm) long that gets covered under the thick coat of fur. Yet, the tail helps polar bears to survive the cold. Wondering how? While a long tail would cover a larger area that is often suspective of heat loss, a small tail covers a smaller area preventing heat loss. The tail also protects the bear's rear end from extreme weather.

Sloth Bear (Melurus ursinus)

What bear has the longest tail?

Unlike many animals, despite being one of the largest mammals, a bear does not have a long tail!

While the Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is the largest bear weighing up to 992 lb (450 kg) and a height ranging up to 8 ft (2.4 m), the Asian sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) has the longest tail measuring up to 6-7 in (15-18 cm).

What purpose does the bear's tail serve?

A bear's tail is considered vestigial, meaning it serves no specific function.

Unlike a bear, a dog's tail is often used as a way to communicate. A tail might have several purposes depending on the animal. While it allows fish to swim, monkeys and opossums can grasp branches with their tails and soar from one tree to another. Likewise, it also protects animals from flies, biting insects, dirt, and extreme weather. Also, a tail can help maintain balance, like in the case of a kangaroo and a cat.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Do bears have tails? then why not take a look at Do black bears hibernate? or cave bear facts?

Written By
Gurpuneet Kaur

<p>As a skilled content writer, Gurpuneet has written and managed engaging content for multiple websites and companies. Driven by a passion for helping young people achieve their full potential, she brings a unique perspective to her work. She is currently pursuing a degree in Economics from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College Of Commerce. With extensive experience as a tutor, Gurpuneet has made a significant impact by providing guidance and academic support to students. Her dedication extends beyond tutoring as she has volunteered with Action India, where she offered medical assistance and educational aid to underprivileged communities. Additionally, Gurpuneet has contributed to the creation of student study guides for various educational agencies.</p>

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?