How to Identify a Small Pet by Its Tail
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Some people may have difficulty in distinguishing between the various small animals that are kept as pets. Some are easy to identify; others are often confusing. Taking a good look at the animal's tail is helpful in identification, since tails differ markedly.

Animal Tail Length Tail Hair Cover General
Gerbil Longer than body Haired, with tufted end
Hamster Short Haired
Hedgehog Very short (about ½ inch) Short, sparse fur
Sugar Glider Longer than body; slightly prehensile Haired
Rabbit Short Haired
Guinea Pig None  €“
Rat Longer than body Few fine hairs
Mouse Longer than body Few fine hairs
Chinchilla Almost equal to body length; often shaped like a '?' Bushy; coarser hair than on body
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