Telling tails of the animal world

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 April, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 April, 1998, 12:00am

Most animals have tails but they use them for different purposes - to help them get around, stay upright, give warning, as food and even to kill with.

Fish swim by beating their tails from side to side.

Monkeys use their tails as an extra hand when climbing.

Kangaroos have big, stiff tails which help them balance when they jump.

A hunting cheetah extends its tail to keep its balance when making a sudden sharp turn.

When threatened, rattlesnakes shake their tails, producing a loud warning sound. The tailtip rattle is made of dead skin.

After catching their insect prey with their pincers, scorpions kill their victim with a poisonous sting from their long, jointed tails.

When threatened, bees and wasps attack their enemies in the same way.

When tadpoles are changing into froglets, they feed on (absorb) the nutritious fat, protein and carbohydrate stored in their tails - so their tails get shorter.

As frogs swim by moving their wedded limbs, their tails are no longer needed.