When we see a squirrel from afar, we normally notice its big and bushy tail first. Squirrels use their tails in many ways, they can wrap it around their bodies to protect them from heavy rains, likewise, when they see a predator like a rattle snake, they do wag their tails for self-protection.
Squirrels do spend a lot of time to groom their tails. Squirrels often twitch their tails to signal to other squirrels the presence of danger around the corner. They twitch their tails when they are also suspicious of humans or animals around, raising suspicion from other squirrels around.
What Do Squirrels Do With Their Tails?
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The squirrel’s tail is unique to it and beautifies it to a great length. The purpose of the fluffy appendage is actually more than its physical aesthetic looks. It is adopted for many uses and serves the animal in more functions than one would ordinarily think.
The tail is the most attractive and conspicuous part of the squirrel’s body for an onlooker, but for the animal itself, it is almost a universal tool.
The squirrel’s tail serves it in three major ways that aid its survival – protection, balance, and communication. See details below:
– It provides a balancing function when the animal climbs. It does this by maintaining balance as the squirrel climbs and jumps from one tree to another.
– In the instance that a squirrel loses its grip and is about to fall off a tree, the tail serves as a natural parachute, slowing its fall so the animal can safely land. Atimes in a free fall situation, the squirrel would cushion its fall by putting its tail to the ground first before the rest of the body.
– Secondly, it uses the tail as a rudder while swimming. Although squirrels are not well known as swimmers, they do swim and their tail helps them perform the magic. It aids them in maintaining a course in the water, especially when there is turbulence.
– It also serves as a defensive shield. Squirrels are often preyed on by other animals like the rattlesnake. When in danger, they deploy their tails to ward off likely predators that they sense around them.
how do squirrels use their tails
The tail is used by squirrels as a direct means of communication among themselves, especially in mating season. Potential partners attract themselves with their tails; and rejections are also communicated with the tail. By flicking its tail quickly 3 consecutive times, a squirrel can warn other squirrels nearby of danger, perhaps from a predator.
With the help of its tail, the squirrel can adapt to different weather conditions – in rainy weather, the tail acts as an umbrella and a towel when the animal is wet. The animal would wrap its tail around itself to keep warm when the weather is cold or while sleeping. The same tail keeps the body cool during hot summers, when more blood gets pumped into it.
Squirrels can however still survive without their tails as a squirrel would sometimes lose part of its tail in an accident, which makes them look funny, but they get by.