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What do squirrels do with their tails?

Like the raccoon, the squirrel is well known for its bushy tail. In proportion to the rest of its body, this tail stands out and really makes this animal a unique and cute looking animal to say the least. It is that bushy tail that is one of the reasons why so many people think squirrels are quite adorable.

However, you may wonder if there are more important reasons that a squirrel has such a large tail? What do squirrels do with their tails?

Well, it first starts with the fact that the tail is a very useful tool in helping these animals to maintain their balance. If you have ever seen a squirrel walking across a very small branch or the wire that leads from a tree to the roof of the home, you have probably noticed that that tail stays upright and helps to maintain their balance. It gives them the ability to be a tight rope walker of sorts, and this is an essential ingredient in how they are able to maintain their balance through the entire process of getting across that wire.

You may have also noticed that frequently a squirrel will stop on a wire and grip the wire with their back feet while leaning over to try to grab something. The tail plays an integral part in them being able to maintain their balance while hanging onto the wire. In fact, without it they would likely fall off.

Squirrels frequently use this technique when they are attempting to grab something that is in the water below them or that is on the ground beneath them. Falling in the water could be quite dangerous to them, and they don’t want to risk getting onto the ground where other animals would have a shot at capturing and killing them. Therefore, the tail gives them the additional balance that they need to be able to maintain their balance on the branch or wire so they can grab the food or whatever item is located beneath them while not worrying about falling off.

The tail also has a couple of other purposes that it is used for. One of these is to help it to pat down locations where it is building a home or storing its food. In the same way that a beaver would pat down an area with its tail, the squirrel uses its hind end appendage to pat down the soil so that it is not visible to other animals around it.

In a pinch, a squirrel can also use its tail as a defense mechanism. If it is trapped in some way and a predator is approaching from behind it may use its tail to slap at the predator to try to scare it away. Depending upon the size of the animal that is approaching, this can be a very effective technique in defeating its enemy so that it can survive to another day. Since squirrel has so few ways to defend itself, this is one of its best. Read more: Squirrel Control, How to Get Rid of Squirrels, how to get squirrels out of your attic, Squirrel Feces, How to Keep Squirrels Away from House, How to Kill Squirrels.

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