Do Snakes Have Tails?

Yes, snakes do have tails. Snakes have clearly defined tails that can be distinguished from the rest of their body parts. It’s used for a range of important purposes from swimming to hunting!

Do Snakes Have Tails

This article will outline what snakes use their tails for, why male snakes have longer tails than female snakes, and answer whether snake tails are venomous. We’ll also explore some interesting facts – like the fact snakes can grow their tails back!

What do Snakes use their Tails For?

Snakes use their tail to perform several functions. These include mimicking prey during a hunt, helping them to swim, helping them to climb, and for constricting prey. A snake’s tail is a lot like a human limb – without it, the snake would be significantly disabled!

1. Mimicking Prey

One of the primary functions of a snake tail is caudal luring “hawkish mimicry.”

Caudal luring is an act of mimicry whereby a snake uses its tail to deceive its prey and strike on them.

Snakes have their tails easily accessible to impersonate the hunt of the animals they intend to hunt. For example, some snakes use their tail to bear a resemblance to worms, persuading lizards to come to a closer range so that they can attack.

Other snakes allure birds into notable surfaces by using their tails to imitate spiders.

Some snake species, such as “cerastes vipera,” commonly known as the Sahara Sand Viper, manipulate their tail to imitate an insect larva. The viper plunges its whole body beneath the sand, leaving its eyes and snout on the surface. When a lizard is approaching, the snake removes its tail to mimic an insect larva. The snake then strikes the lizard and feeds on it.

2. Swimming

Sea and water snakes use their tails to help them to swim since they spend most of their life in the water. Their tails are flat to aid in navigation while the whipping motion helps them to stay afloat, similar to how humans use their feet to tread water.

The snake moves its tail in an ‘S’ shape, whipping it like a wave, to keep itself afloat. The whipping motion pushes the water beneath the snake down, and pushes the snake up to the surface.

3. Climbing

In addition, snakes use their tails to climb onto trees’ branches when they run away from predators or looking for prey.

The tail can be a grip.

But like other animals with tails (such as squirrels and monkeys), the snake’s tail can act as a counterbalance to assist with balancing on branches.

4. Constricting

Snakes who constrict their prey use their bodies to wrap themselves around an animal then squeeze it until it dies.

While the body of the snake is the main tool for achieving construction, the tail can be of assistance as well, to allow the snake to get better grip and help them squeeze more effectively.

5. To Warn off Predators

Rattlesnakes have a special tail compared to other snakes. Their tail contains a rattle that they can shake up to 90 times per second, causing an ominous rattling noise.

A rattlesnake uses its tail rattle to warn off predators. The rattle is designed to make the rattle sound scary and make predators think twice about attacking it.

No other type of snake has a rattle on its tail.

Why do Male Snakes have longer Tails than Female Snakes?

The tail of a snake originates from the cloaca, a unique enclosure where urinary waste, defecation, and reproductive by-products are passed through. Although humans have several chambers for these purposes, snakes exclusively have only one. The tail is designed so that it can perform all of the above functions with only one hole.

The variation in the length of the female snake species and the male snakes’ species results from sexual dimorphism. Male snakes have a hemipenis located at the end of their tails due to the large surface area available.

The size of the tail also varies among male snakes. Males with longer the tails have longer hemipenis. Some male snakes partially lose their tails in the circumstances such as predation, making their tail short.

The size of the tail affects the rate at which successful reproduction takes place.  The rate of reproduction is reduced by one-third in snakes with shorter tails.

According to this study, the longer the male’s tail, the more likely a female will mate with him. It turns out that size does matter!

Are Snake Tails Venomous?

Snake tails are not venomous. Even rattlesnakes, who are venomous snakes, only store venom in their head and not their tail.

Snake tails are even edible and are considered a delicacy in parts of China. They are put in ‘snake soup’ and cooked just like fish and chicken. However, the meat does need to be prepared properly, just like any other animal’s meat.

Can Snakes Grow Back their Tails?

Yes, snakes can grow back their tail, but this only happens once in a lifetime. The new tail does not have a spine.

Most of the vital organs used by the snakes to function effectively are located on the upper body part. Hence the body of a snake can continue to function well even if the tail is cut or tampered with, especially in female snakes.

Male snakes are unable to reproduce when their tails are cut because it is where their hemipenis is located.

Rattlesnakes can also regrow their rattles, which are regularly lost during fights with predators and prey. In fact, baby rattlesnakes are born without effective rattles, and this rattle is slowly grown with new sections coming each time the rattlesnake molts.



To sum up, snakes have defined tails, and an individual can easily differentiate them from the body, as they begin just after the digestive tract.

A snake uses its tails to perform different functions, including; caudal luring, swimming, climbing onto branches of trees, swimming, constricting prey, and acting as a defense mechanism against other predators.

Males snakes have longer tails than female snakes because of the hemipenis possessed by the males’ snakes. The hemipenes are used for reproduction purposes.

Skip to content