|Prehensile tails can be useful for more than feeding. Mouse-opossums have been observed collecting nesting material and wrapping their tails around it to transport the material back to their nesting sites.||Animals which mainly eat fruit, leaves, and flowers are the most common group with prehensile tails. Fruit and new leaves grow at the ends of branches which might not be able to support an animal's weight. With a prehensile tail, however, animals can hang from more solid branches while feeding, or use their tails for added support. Large spider monkeys can be seen feeding over 50 meters from the ground, hanging on only by the tips of their tails.|
In forests with thick vegetation and lots of vines, fewer animals have evolved prehensile tails because it is easy enough to
move through the forest already. Photo by Maya Walters.
But eating a diet of fruit isn't the only reason to have a prehensile tail. Some snakes and lizards also have this adaptation, including Asian pythons, and some boas and vipers. These reptiles are highly arboreal, and make use of prehensile tails to hold tight to a branch while handling large prey such as birds and lizards.
[fruit] [leaves] [flowers] [mammals] [reptiles]
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