21 Animals Without Tails

By: Mario
Gorilla as an example of an amimal without tail

There are many wonderful animals on our amazing planet.

In fact, scientists have estimated that there are currently 8.7 million different species roaming around and even believe that there are still a further 7.5 million species yet to be discovered.

Now, if that doesn’t boggle your mind, I don’t know what will! 

And what’s even more perplexing is that each and every species has their own unique and identifiable characteristics that make them stand out from the rest.

But when it comes to being tailless, apparently, it’s less common than you might think. Most birds, mammals, reptiles, and even some fish have a tail of some kind. 

However, there are still quite a few animals that seem to be lacking a tail.

Some are simply born without one, a little like you and I, some have lost them to injury and disease, and many have simply evolved and ditched the tail throughout the process. 

But which animals out there don’t have a tail? Let’s find out! 

1. American Black Bear

 The American Black Bear is the most commonly found bear in the whole of the States.

However, don’t feel too alarmed if you ever counter one face to face since they are rarely aggressive to humans without provocation. 

They are the smallest species of bear that you’ll find in North America, but that doesn’t mean that they are small by any means, they still measure around 5 feet long, have a shoulder height of around 3 feet, and can weigh up to a whopping 600 pounds. 

Millions and millions of years ago, these mammals actually did have tails, however, they were never really necessary to their survival.

So, as time went by, and more generations of bears were born, their tails became smaller and smaller until they basically disappeared altogether. 

2. Araucana Chickens 

If you’ve ever taken a trip to a farmyard as a child, which you probably have, you’ll be well aware that most chickens do have a fluffy feathery tail.

But not the Araucana Chicken. This bird native to Chile is well known for its unique-looking blue-shelled eggs. But they are also known for being tailless too. 

However, this is no evolutionary process. It’s not because of disease or injury. It’s not because of anything natural at all actually.

These chickens simply have no tail because the original breeder of the bird preferred the way it looked. 

Sometimes, they can still be born with a tail since it is a recessive trait, but many breeders won’t class these kinds of birds as Araucana Chickens.

Though the logic behind this is somewhat flawed. 

3. Barbary Macaque 

When you initially envision a monkey, you probably picture it swinging from vine to vine, or hanging from its long tail.

Well, that’s a sight you’ll never witness if you come up close and personal with a Barbary Macaque because they don’t actually have a tail. 

This is another example of an animal that did used to have a tail many moons ago, but over time and generations it has seemed to disappear since it’s never really been required. 

4. Bonobos

Fun fact of the day – Bonobos are humans closest living relatives. Pretty cool, right? You’ll find these great apes residing in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

They are super social mammals that will live with up to 150 others of their kind. 

They have many cool and crazy quirks. One being that they are known for being very sexually promiscuous.

And in fact, they often resolve many of their conflicts within the group with intercourse. 

Much like the Barbary Macaque, Bonobos ditched their tails throughout the thousands upon thousands of years of evolution. 

5. Capybara

Capybaras are arguably one of the cuter animals that are classified as rodents. You’ll often find them residing in South America and they can grow to be a huge 150 pounds.

Now, that’s one big rodent! 

They prefer to spend most of their lives in the surrounding waters while they munch on all manner of aquatic goodies.

However, the likelihood of you catching a glimpse of these wonderful creatures diminishes by the day as they are officially considered a threatened species since we humans often hunt them for their fur and meat. 

The reason these rodents don’t have tails is because they have adapted this way to better suit their semi-aquatic lifestyle.

It’s a lot harder to be an agile swimmer with a long and floppy tail. 

6. Centipedes 

Known for being a creepy critter, centipedes have a whole lot of legs but they don’t actually have a tail.

You may look at them and think they’re basically nothing but a tail, but that’s not quite factually accurate. 

You’ll find these crawling creatures across many different  habitats and they have a diet that mainly consists of other insects, spiders, worms, and the likes. 

Fun Fact – did you know that centipedes are actually misnamed since most of them don’t actually have 100 legs? 

7. Chimpanzees 

Chimps are another primate that you’ll find is completely devoid of a tail.

If you travelled back in time to around 25 million years prior, you’d find these mammals prowling the land with their tails still intact.

But interestingly enough, geneticists believe that these apes actually lost their tails pretty suddenly unlike most other animals whose tails gradually shrank with time. 

These African animals are easily distinguishable by their long, thick, black hair. They also, like us humans, have opposable thumbs. Which is arguably much more useful for them than a tail ever could be. 

8. Crabs

 You’ll find these crustaceans all over the globe, they are closely related to other creatures such as lobsters and shrimp.

They’re also pretty small things, often never being more than half a foot in length, even once they’re fully grown. 

They’re also pretty interesting and unique creatures.

They don’t walk forwards like most animals, and they don’t even walk side to side like most of their crustacean counterparts.

Instead they actually move around in circles by lifting forward on the tips of their legs and pulling along the rest of their bodies.

I bet that’s pretty tiring…and don’t even get me started on feeling dizzy. 

These animals are tailless simply because they would be redundant and unnecessary. 

9. Frogs

Frogs are a common reptile that I think we’ve all seen from time to time. They’re probably most well known for their bouncy movement and ribbet sound that they make.

They tend to be pretty slimy because it helps them to swim. 

Some species of frogs do actually have tails, but they tend to lose them as they age, whereas many others are never born with a tail.

It is believed that these adorable reptiles are tailless to aid their swimming skills. 

10. Gibbons

It’s pretty strange, isn’t it, that we seem to automatically assume that all monkeys and apes have tails, when we’ve clearly seen that’s not the case?

Here is another example of a mammal that is known for having no tail. 

Gibbons are often found in Southeast Asia, and, despite being tailless, you’ll often find them swinging from vine to vine thanks to their incredibly long arms and legs.

Like many of the other similar species, you’ll find gibbons to be incredibly social animals.

However, for the most part, they tend to prefer to live alone or in  small groups with several females and just the one male. 

And similar to many of the other monkeys on the list, gibbons lost their tails during the process of evolution. 

11. Gorillas 

Gorillas are huge animals, and actually, they are the largest primates on earth without tails. They are also pretty similar to you and I in terms of DNA, sharing a whopping 98% of it. 

You’ll most typically find these mammoth mammals in Africa, though there are several different habitats they will reside in. From thick rain forests to dry woodlands, they’ll settle in many different places. 

It is believed that these primates lost their tails millions of years ago through the process of evolution. 

12. Guinea Pigs

These cute and small rodents originated from South America, but you’ll often find them in many people’s homes now since they’re very friendly and easily domesticated.

Plus they are just some of the most adorable pets out there, right? 

When it comes to being tailless, these are actually pretty interesting creatures, though. Here’s a fact you probably didn’t know, seven of the bones in these little rodents bodies are actually tailbones.

However, because they don’t actually protrude from their body, you’ll never find one with a wagging tail. Probably for the best, though, as that would definitely be cuteness overload if they did! 

13. Hyrax

Now, this might be an animal you’ve never heard of before, but they are an African Mammal that is small and looks pretty similar to a hedgehog, just without as many prickly spikes. 

These herbivore hyraxes often live in colonies with up to 100 others of their kind. They are super social and friendly animals.

They’re also pretty loud. You can often hear them communicating with each other using a variety of different vocalizations. 

These creatures are devoid of a tail so that they can escape from predators with greater ease. They are already very fast and agile so a tail would definitely slow them down.

And since they often hide in narrow crocks in rocks to escape, a tail might also give away their hiding spots. 

14. Jellyfish

Jellyfish are undeniably stunning unique creatures. And their biological makeup is even more perplexing considering they don’t actually have a heart, brain, or backbone.

Things we usually consider pretty essential – but not for the jellyfish! 

Jellyfish don’t have tails, and nor do they really need them, because they already have something pretty similar – tentacles.

These tentacles are often used so that they can catch their next meal while gliding through the depths of the ocean. 

15. Kiwi

No, we’re not talking about that green delicious fruit, we’re talking about the New Zealand native bird.

This bird is actually pretty unique in a few different ways. First of all, it’s a flightless bird, and secondly it doesn’t actually have a tail. 

Though its wings are redundant in terms of flight, they do still help it to move around, and it also has some pretty strong legs that help it run at pretty impressive speeds. 

16. Koalas

 Koalas are a perfect example of wild animals looking incredibly adorable. They do really look like giant teddy bears.

They are also an example of yet another mammal that seems not to possess a tail.

They do however still have vestiges of a tail in their skeletal structure which indicates that during some point in their past life, they used to have one. 

You’ll often find these gorgeous animals munching on eucalyptus leaves in areas such as Australia and New Guinea. 

17. Manx Cat

Any cat lover will know that most domesticated cats have long, and usually fluffy, tails. However this is not the case for the Manx cat that is often found in England and Ireland.

This breed of cat actually has no tail because of a genetic mutation. 

It’s a natural breed though, so it doesn’t come from a specific line of cats. It is believed that the Manx cat was first found on the Isle of Man in the British Isles.

But tail or not, they are still incredibly adorable! 

18. Spiders 

Here, we have every arachnophobes worst nightmare – the spider. These creepy crawlies are often known for striking fear into the hearts of many humans, with their long legs and web-spinning abilities.

But actually, they pose little threat to humans and are actually super helpful in terms of pest control. 

Apparently, these 8-legged insects did once have tails, however, as they evolved into sit-and-wait predators they became redundant and so they disappeared throughout their evolutionary history. 

19. Octopuses

Octopuses are another example of creatures without a tail. I suppose with those 8 long legs, that arguably look a bit like tails, they don’t really need them.

These arms are also pretty invaluable to these cephalopods. They’re very flexible and make it easy for them to swim and catch their prey. They even work to hold back attackers. 

It is believed that octopuses do not have tails because it would hinger their agility in the water. 

20. Starfish 

Starfish are pretty unique animals since they technically don’t actually have any limbs such as arms or legs.

They have ‘arms’ of some degree, five of them in fact, but they aren’t technically classified as actual arms like yours or mine. 

Since they don’t have these limb structures or digits, they also don’t have tails. Interestingly enough, they also do not have gills, scales, or fins like many other  aquatic animals either! 

21. Humans 

Finally, we humans are mammals that also do not obtain tails. But you should probably already know that.

Believe it or not though, around half a billion years ago, we did used to. However throughout evolution they seemed to have disappeared – but it explains why we still have tailbones! 

We don’t really need tails anymore because our bodies are aligned with a centre of gravity that passes down our spines to our feet. So we don’t really need a tail to balance like many other animals do. 

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Final Thoughts

And there you have it. As you can see there are tons of animals out there that are tailless!

For the most part, many of them used to have them, including us, but as time has passed the need for the tail has become redundant and so over time they have disappeared.