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Do Rhinos Have Tails? Why Do They Have Them?

Yes, rhinos have tails. Just like in other animals, a rhino’s tail is an appendage attached to the torso of the animal. It is made up of little pieces of bones connected by cartilage and covered with muscle tissue and skin.

With the exception of the Sumatran rhinos, which are hairy all over, other rhino species are hairless except on the tip of their tails and ears.

Their tails play an important part in everyday functioning and can be used to communicate.

How Long Is A Rhino’s Tail?

Rhino's tail

Depending on the age and the species, rhinos have tails measuring between 25 and 30 inches (64-77 cm). Compared to their total body length (7.8-15 ft), rhinos have relatively short tails.

Let’s see how they compare to other animals.

Rhino Tail Size Compared To Other Animals

Rhinos have slightly longer tails than camels – a camel’s tail measures between 18 and 25.5 inches (45-65 cm). 

Camels’ South American cousins, the llamas, have tails between 6 and 12 inches long – this is 3-5 shorter than rhinos’ tails.

African elephants have tail lengths of up to 60 inches – that’s almost 2 times longer than rhinos’ tails.

Giraffes are land mammals with the longest tails in the world that measure between 30 and 95 inches long (76-240 cm). Compared to them, rhinos have shorter tails, almost 3 times.

In contrast to hippos, animals often compared to rhinos, rhinos have longer tails – 13.8-22 inches vs 25-30 inches.

You might be surprised to learn that moose, 1,500 pounds heavy beasts with large ears, long squared faces, and huge antlers, have tails measuring just 2 to 4.5 inches in length!

You can read more about it here.

AnimalTail Length
Rhinoceros25-30 in
Giraffe30-95 in 
African Elephant39-60 in
Camel18-25.5 in
Llama6-12 in
Hippopotamus13.8-22 in
Moose2.5-4.5 in

What Do Rhinos Use Their Tails For?

Rhino's back and its tail

Rhinos use their tails for several things: to swat flies, express their mood, mark territory, and during their reproductive behavior.

As mentioned, most rhino species have stiff hair on their tails and ears – this functions as a fly swatter and helps these animals to protect themselves from insect bites.

Also, when alarmed, it might curve its tail. When a rhino curls its tail in a corkscrew shape, it is a sign that it is feeling nervous or anxious. In case you come across one and notice that behavior, back away slowly. 

A white rhino for example might be more likely to run away than to fight you, but you don’t want any of these beasts to charge you! 

Some rhinos use their tails to spread their feces around to mark their territory.

Also, when they enter estrus (heat), female Sumatran rhinos will keep their tails up or to the side, as part of their courtship ritual.

When nursing, the calf can become still and suckle while wagging its tail simultaneously. Some mention that black rhinos might use their tails as “beacons” or “antennas” for their calves to follow.

Final Thoughts – Do Rhinos Have Tails?

In conclusion, rhinos do have tails. 

They are the second largest land animals, after the elephants, and depending on the species can reach from 7.7 to 15 feet in length. 

Rhinos’ tails are the hindmost prolonged parts of the animals that are attached to their torso. The tails are between 25 and 30 inches long – hairy on their ends and used to sway insects and attract mates.

If you were pondering on the question “do rhinos have tails”, we hope this article removed all doubts.

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