Do Sloths Have Tails? Let’s Learn A Bit About This

As random as it may sound, have you ever thought about the anatomy of a sloth? They seem to be known by many people for moving slowly and for having claws (and for being sooooooo cute)…..but what about other features of them? For example, do sloths have tails?

In this article, I am going to examine this further and provide an answer to this question. I will do so by presenting some information about the anatomy of a sloth, discussing whether or not sloths have tails, talking about some animals that have long tails, and also talking about some animals that do not have tails at all. At the end of it all, I hope to have informed and entertained you. So, let’s begin…..


How Are Sloths Put Together?

From a biological perspective, some anatomical features that sloths possess are the following:

  • Sloths have ears that are very small.
  • Sloths have claws that are long, curved, sharp, and strong.
  • Sloths have long limbs.
  • Sloths are able to turn their heads almost 360 degrees.
  • Various critters (including algae) can be found living on sloths.
  • Sloths have a certain look of sadness in their eyes.
  • Sloths have fur.
  • Sloths have a heart that consists of four chambers.
  • Sloths have backbones.
  • Sloths will only develop two sets of teeth throughout their life.
  • Sloths have heads that are round.


But What About Tails?

Continuing on with the anatomy of sloths, I will now discuss the main topic of this article – that is, do sloths have tails? Before I get into the de”tails” (okay, that may have been bad), I would like to present a bit more information regarding types of sloths.

There are six species of sloths, which are divided into two categories: two-toed and three-toed. Hoffman’s and Linnaeus’s sloths are two-toed ones, with the four remaining species being three-toed ones: Brown-throated, Maned, Pale-throated, and Pygmy. For more information about this, check out my article titled, “Different Types Of Sloths – How Many Are There?

While doing my research for this article, not all information that I found was consistent. Having said that, I have provided a bit of a summary based on some of the information that I have put together, which is as follows:

  • Hoffman’s sloths have tails that range in length from 15 to 30 millimeters.
  • Linnaeus’s sloths have tails between 15 and 35 millimeters long.
  • Brown-throated sloths have tails that are between 20 and 90 millimeters long.
  • Maned sloths have tails that range somewhere between 40 and 50 millimeters in length.
  • Pale-throated sloths have tails that go anywhere from 20 to 110 millimeters in length.
  • Pygmy sloths have tails that range from 40 to 60 millimeters in length.

So, even though different sloths have different sizes of tails, all of them have tails that are relatively short. Let’s now take a look at tails of some other animals and do some comparisons.


Long Tails In The Animal Kingdom

How do sloths’ tails compare to the tails of other animals in the animal kingdom? Specifically, what are some of the animals that have long tails? That is the topic that I am going to address next.

When taking another look at the lengths of sloths’ tails, Pale-throated sloths have the longest ones (up to 110 millimeters in length). For comparison purposes, let’s take a look at an animal that has a long tail – the giraffe. Likely known by many people as having a long neck, giraffes also have long tails. While their neck can reach a length of up to six feet long (over 1,800 millimeters), their tails can grow even longer than that – sometimes up to eight feet long! That is over 2,400 millimeters long!

How about thresher sharks? Before doing my research for this article, I had never heard of this animal before. Their tails can grow to be up to 10 feet long – that is over 3,000 millimeters long!

Another potentially interesting comparison pertains to how long an animal’s tail is in relation to its body length. Two animals that have long tails relative to their body lengths are the long-tailed grass lizard (whose tail can be up to three times longer than its body) and the long-eared jerboa (whose tail can be two times longer than its body).

Going from one extreme to the next, let’s now take a look at some animals that do not have a tail at all.


Who Needs A Tail? Not These Animals!

According to Business Insider, “Most birds, mammals, reptiles, and even fish have tails. But humans and other apes don’t, even though our close primate relatives do.”

I don’t know about you, but when I consider how many animal species exist on the planet (over a million) I am very surprised that so few of them do not have tails.


The End Of This Tale/Tail

Well, we have now made it to the tail end of this article (another bad one, right?). To get here, I presented some information about the anatomy of a sloth, I discussed whether or not sloths have tails, I talked about some animals that have long tails, and I also talked about some animals that do not have tails at all.

To answer our question, “Do sloths have tails?”, my research on this clearly shows that all six species of sloths do indeed have tails. They are all relatively short and vary in length from species to species, but all sloths do have tails.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope that you learned something new today and that you enjoyed reading it. Do you know of any other animals with long tails? How about animals with no tails at all? If you do, I would love to learn about them so please let me know in the section below. Also, if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to do so (below, as well).

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  • Hi Michael,

    I must say I really enjoyed reading this humorous article about if the sloths have a tail. It’s really interesting to know that they have a very small tail, which is surprising looking at the body they have. Sloths surely are very unique and cute animals.
    You continue to provide us some very valuable information about sloths.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Habib,

      I’m glad that you enjoyed reading this article. I agree with you that sloths are very unique and cute animals.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  • Very interesting article and one I have learnt a lot from. I never knew that sloths had tails or there was 6 different types of sloths!! I would be interested to know some more facts such as how long do sloths live on average? Also interested to know what sort of merchandise you will be selling…

    Thanks for sharing this post.

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