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Why Would A Squirrel Have No Tail?

Have you ever wondered what a squirrel with no tail would look like? Or, if this is even something that’s possible? The wonders of nature never cease to amaze us, and that’s particularly true when you consider that there actually are squirrels who have no tails.

Can a squirrel lose its tail at some point during its life? There is a possibility of this happening. When you see this at a quick glance, you won’t be able to tell the cause of why the squirrel is missing this seemingly vital part of its body.

You may be surprised to learn that most tree squirrels’ scientific name is based on their tail. Sciurus is derived from the Greek word for shadow (skia) and tail (oura).

This refers to a squirrel “sitting in the shadow of its tail”. Some of the most common types of squirrel include the Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) and Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinis).

Why Would A Squirrel Have No Tail?

A squirrel’s tail truly is a fascinating thing. It is beneficial for many uses such as breaking falls, communication, and balance.

Squirrels don’t tend to be born without tails. There is no observable genetic mutation at this time that makes it happen. There are a few somewhat common causes of a squirrel losing their tail.

A squirrel may get its tail stuck between the boards of a fence or branches on a tree while they’re chasing each other around.

This may look adorable when they give a good chase around a tree, but it can lead to this not-so-nice outcome. They also might get into a fight with a predator and lose their tails this way. It’s just one of the many tragic things that happen in the natural world.

Can A Squirrel Stay Alive Without Having Their Tail?

Do squirrels who lose their tails survive afterward? The short answer to this question is that yes, they can continue to live and can do quite well without a tail.

Squirrels’ tails are there for much more than just their cute, fluffy appearance. One of their main uses is to keep them balanced when climbing and jumping in trees and other tall objects.

Another is to help them communicate with other animals who are predators. They do this to let the animal know they see them and discourage them from trying anything shady.

A squirrel may experience some difficulties once they lose their tail. It can mean issues with balance, a tough time with temperature control, and even an inability to battle against rattlesnakes.

That’s right, squirrels use their tails in order to warn off a rattlesnake since they move their tails in a specific way to emit an infrared signature that will put the snake into a defensive mode instead of predatory.

Can Squirrels Do Anything To Regrow Their Tails?

It would be amazing and wonderful if a squirrel could just grow that tail right back again. However, this simply isn’t the case. A squirrel doesn’t have the means to make their tail regenerate like a salamander and some other animals can.

Once their tail is gone, it stays gone. This furry creature surely will look strange to you, but it isn’t much cause for concern. Though they may develop infection depending on how they lose their tail and what happens afterward, in most cases they will be perfectly fine.

The chemicals that a squirrel has when it’s developing before birth that make the tail grow don’t permit for a slowed-down tail to develop again.

While this really is sad, you’ll find that it doesn’t always make a big difference in their lives and you are even likely to see them scampering around with other squirrels to play and search for food as they normally would without much of a hindrance.


For many people, squirrels are part of the daily (seasonal) background that make up their lives. If you do happen to see a squirrel with no tail bouncing around your neighborhood, try to remember that you don’t need to try to capture and rehabilitate it. That little guy should be just fine continuing with their regular life activities even after they’ve lost their tail, so you shouldn’t put too much thought into whether it will be okay or not.