Can You Identify This Animal by Its Tail?



By: Tasha Moore

6 Min Quiz

Image: MarkBridger/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Bottoms up! It's the animal hind parts quiz! We test treasured wisdom of creature tails in this wildly challenging feat. You are truly a witty beast if you can identify these brutes by their back ends!

Tails serve a variety of functions for the animals we adore. The appendages are tell-tales of an animal's emotional state. A perky tail is a sign of alertness; a droopy tail can indicate a somber disposition. Dogs that wag their tails are often in high spirits, anticipating action or affection from their owners. 

Animals also use their tails for comfort. No matter how fury or long, many tail-endowed creatures wrap their pieces around themselves when they ball up for repose. Cats that slap their tails around might indicate that the feline is fixing to pounce! Lions and other animals use their tails to signal a mating desire. Equine breeds of the horse family are lucky to have tails of considerable length to swat pesky disease-carrying bugs away. Owners groom the lengthy tail hair of certain horse breeds to improve the animals' commercial worth or appearance. If you've ever watched an equestrian competition, such as dressage, you'll notice that the horse will flick its tail in ways to enhance the aesthetic value of its movements.

Move on through these tailpiece photos and ID the beast to better your score! 

Do you know the name of this animal by its tail?

White-tailed jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) are important sources of prey for coyotes, golden eagles and bobcats of western North America. Large populations of the jackrabbit help sustain the region's ecological order.


Is it easy to spot the correct Australian critter?

Native to southwestern Australia, the red-tailed wambenger (Phascogale calura) is endangered and has been bred in captivity since 2001. The males of the species breed once every year.


One of this species wandered far from home. What is it?

The sedentary lifestyle of the white-cheeked pintail (Anas bahamensis bahamensis) in regions that border the tropics as well as prolonged breeding seasons greatly influence the animal's mating habits. A disruption of these factors may have caused one pintail to venture as far as Florida in 1996.


Can you guess the tail of this animal that feeds (swallows?) at night?

The nocturnal swallow-tailed gull (Creagrus furcatus) is a seabird native to the Galapagos Islands. The gull mainly feeds on clupeid fish and squid that skim the ocean's surface at night.


It's one of the biggest of its breed. Try to guess the name?

Spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is a sizeable breed of the quoll species, weighing up to 15 pounds. Reptiles, birds, mammals and insects comprise the diet of the spotted-tailed quoll.


The availability of food alters this creature's mating habits. Whose tail is this?

The long-tailed skua (Stercorarius longicausus) thrives on land prey during the summer months and ocean resources during the remaining months. The animal breeds in the Arctic during the summer, but if food is scarce there it will migrate out of its breeding zone which reduces its breeding chances.


This creature can literally smell danger in order to play dead. Whose tail is this?

Australia's ringtail possum exhibits a heightened chemical response to the fecal scents of its predators by fleeing quicker than when it's exposed to neutral odors. The ringtail possum will avoid the fecal smell without need of seeing the actual predators.


How well do you know this United States native?

The smallest member of the raccoon species is the ringtail (Bassariscus astutus). The nocturnal creature can be found almost al.


A social creature has this tailpiece. See if you can name the exact answer?

Compared to other lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs tend to exhibit more developed social skills, and they possess complex communication abilities. The physical prowess of the ring-tail lemur equals that of other lemurs, however.


What raccoon-esque little fella shakes this tail in South America?

The carnivorous ring-tailed coatimundi inhabits large forested areas of South America. The creature has evolved to socialize well with humans in light of increased rates of deforestation and heightened encroachment of human populations into the animal's ecological zone.


Don't be thrown off—this isn't a carnivorous canine but a termite-cruncher. Do you know the critter's label?

Aardwolves inhabit the south and east-central dry grassland areas of Africa. During the warmest months, the creature thrives on Trinervitermes trinervoides in South Africa. During cold months, when the termites stay underground aardwolves eat Hodotermes mossambicus, a less available termite species.


It exists is complex social structures. Are you confident that you know the exact answer?

Chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) form social bonds through female-led groups. Combative males of the species establish hierarchies within the group based on dominance. Male chacma baboons are also highly aggressive toward females of the species.


The females of this species rarely leave the nest. Can you guess the creature?

The female spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) typically tends to its nest over the entire incubation period many meters away from water bodies without feeding. Humans, capuchin monkeys and jaguars are primary predators of spectacled caiman eggs.


It has a signature step. What is the correct beast among these options?

Mule deer have a leaping pronk that sets them apart from other deer types. Mule deer are most prevalent in western U.S. states. Several types of mule deer in California include Rocky Mountain mule deer, Southern mule deer, Burro mule deer and Inyo mule deer.


The animal with this tail isn't afraid of humans. Do you know the name?

The Eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridamus) typically shares urban spaces with humans, which has caused disruptions in the animal's food supply due to destruction of vegetation. Specifically, herbivorous Eastern cottontail rabbits occupy brushlands and fields that border expanding cities.


See if you can guess the critter that doesn't mind roaming a distance to find its food?

Nocturnal fat-tailed dunnarts (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) inhabit open grasslands of southern and central Australia. The animals will travel up to 400 meters a day to forage invertebrates under rocks or logs.


Experts cloned this endangered species to rescue it from extinction. How well do you know the name?

The endangered gaur resembles an ox and is native to Southeast Asia and India. In 2000, scientists at a biotechnology firm in Massachusetts reported that they cloned an Asian gaur and incubated the fetus in a cow in Iowa.


Scientists recently discovered three of these species in one. Which one do you see here?

Native to India, the Hanuman langur is an omnivorous diurnal primate. It was believed that there was only one species of Hanuman langur, but there are three: Semnopithecus entellus, S. priam and S. hypoleucos.


What creature is sensitive to the sun?

The ibex inhabits mountainous regions of Europe, Asia and northeast Africa. Throughout the day as the sun's radiation increases, the ibex tends to move to higher elevations where they spend less time feeding.


This tail belongs to the ________ of the Americas?

Native to Central and South America, jaguarundis (Puma yagouaroundi) are classified as wild felids. The small carnivorous cats are endangered due to human hunting and loss of habitat.


An American celebrity took one of these as a pet. Do you know the animal depicted in the photo?

In 2005, New York socialite Paris Hilton purchased a pet kinkajou and named the five-pound carnivorous creature "Baby Luv." Kinkajous have sharp teeth and thrive in rainforest habitats.


It performs a sophisticated hoarding method. Which one of these beasts owns the tail?

In 2004, scientists identified the unique seed preparation technique of the least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus). To protect its seed cache, the animal prepares a "bolus," which is a saliva-coated cluster of seeds that it has hulled.


This animal hugs its deceased relatives. Can you ID the correct name?

At the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert, California in 2003, zookeepers intentionally left a sickly meerkat with other meerkats in captivity instead of transferring the ailing animal to a hospital. Zoo officials claimed they did so because the southern African creatures are highly sociable.


How well do you know the creature by its tail?

The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is native to Paraguay, where the animal is an important source of protein for humans. Aside from human hunting, cold and drought also affect the species ecologically.


Man-made construction has hindered this creature's mating practices. Do you see the exact label?

Environmentalists had long protested the existence of liquefied natural gas plants that lined the Brownsville Ship Channel at the U.S.-Mexico border. Experts insisted that the plants prevented the endangered U.S. ocelot population from breeding with Mexico's large ocelot population.


It isn't a fussy eater. What is it?

The Pampas fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus) is a versatile feeder that can change its habits based on food availability. The South American Pampas fox is chiefly a carnivorous animal, but it can thrive off of woodland fruits for extended periods.


What American native has surfaced on another side of the globe?

Native to North America, the common raccoon (Procyon lotor) has spread across Europe in recent years due to escaped pets and species introductions. New populations of the raccoon in Europe threaten both humans and other animals since raccoons are carriers of highly contagious disease.


Do you know the name of this African animal by its tail?

These days the critically endangered giant sable antelope (Hippotragus niger variani) is confined to a small area of central Angola. Populations of the African beast have suffered tremendous declines in recent years.


Which of these animals likes to view from above?

Southern tamanduas are anteaters that inhabit the area that spans from Uruguay to southern Mexico. Unlike the land-dwelling giant anteater, the southern tamandua spends a good portion of its time in trees.


Do you ID the animal that's a source of sustenance for some South American herders?

South American vicuna (Vicugna vicugna) and other camelids provide poor herders of Bolivia and Peru fuel, fiber and meat. Populations of vicuna have dwindled in recent years due to increased commercialization of the animal's fiber.


It'll give you fever! Name the right beast by its tail?

The common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) is a wild pig that's widely spread across the African continent, except in tropical forests and dry lands. The beast is the preferred host of Ornithodoros ticks; both species are known to sustain and transmit African swine fever.


China has domesticated this animal. Which one is it?

Bos mutus is the wild yak that roams the alpine meadows and steppes of Tibet's mountainous terrain. Bos grunniens is the domesticated form of the species that's often sustained in Central Asian countries.


People travel many miles just to see this brute. How easy is it for you to guess the correct label?

African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) graze across nearly all of sub-Saharan Africa except the driest areas. The animal is one of the most sought after creatures in the African tourism industry.


It eats mostly plants. Do you know this animal by its hindquarters?

Native to the African savannah, gemsbok (Oryx gazella gazella) are large in size but they prefer to eat grass, which comprises over 85 percent of their diet. The animals also feed on a type of cucumber dubbed "gemsbok cucumber," or Acanthosicyos naudinianus.


Which animal has a Turkish name?

Caracal (Felis caracal) range in weight from 30 to 40 pounds and are native to the mountain ranges of Asia and Africa. The animal's name is derived from the Turkish "karakal," meaning "black ear."


One U.S. state culled populations of this creature. Is it a challenge to select the name?

By 1930, populations of fisher (Martes pennanti) were wiped out completely in Montana. The medium-sized creatures currently spread throughout the Western United States at low to mid-elevations zones in coniferous forest areas.


When in danger, this animal generates a distinctive sound. Do you name the creature connected to this back end?

Desert-dwelling gerenuk (Litrocranius walleri) are also called giraffe-necked antelope. The creature feeds on buds and leaves located on trees and tall bushes. When in extreme distress, gerenuk emit a loud bleat sound.


How well do you know this heavily-hunted brute?

Due to declining populations, the semi-aquatic common hippopotamus now dwells in confined protected regions of southern, western and eastern Africa. Humans hunt the animal for its meat and ivory, as well as for sport.


What creature uses a smelly marker to track its bearings?

Impala (Aepyceros melampus) are territorial grazers and will remain in one area for extended periods of time. Herds of impala will hover near the same dung site during this portion of time.


This tail belongs to the well-adapted ________?

The endangered leopard (Panthera pardus) has evolved to survive many diverse climates. It is the most widely distributed of all wild felids. The animal roams the African savannah, the muggy rainforests of Southeast Asia and the mild forests of China and Russia.


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