What helps a squirrel to balance while jumping between trees?« Back to Questions List

Squirrels are one of the most admired creatures living around us. Their quick movements, jump from a tree has always been interesting to watch. Not to forget their chatter in high-pitched voice. It is also quite a surprising fact that a squirrel’s very much admired bushy tail is what helps it to balance its leap movement between trees.


Tails are the basic driving force for both aquatic and land animals. Tails can actually serve as balancing poles, flying equipment or even an extra leg at times. A squirrel’s tail helps stabilize its movements and acts as a rudder when it jumps. Apart from balancing act, the tail also performs the act of communication and protection from heat and cold. In summer, tails give them shade and in winter they act like a blanket.

Most of the land animals use their tails for grasping, supporting, signaling and helping attract a mate. Squirrels are warm blooded. They unknowingly regulate their body temperature by regulating the blood flow to their tails. At times of danger especially at the sight of a snake, the squirrels wag their tail back and forth rapidly facing the danger. This allows more blood flow to the tails causing it to heat up. It is believed that when a predator comes to hunt squirrel, it starts to sense more heat. Further with a bigger appearance of the squirrel with its wagging tail, the predator feels threatened. Thus tail wagging proves much useful also at times of danger.


Flying squirrels

How do animals adapt to the weather and food shortage in winter?