It must be fun to have a tail. You can swing it around, smack things with it, and if you’re a possum, hang from tree branches with it. You can even measure using tails: as Bedtime Math fan Nhya points out, in the Warrior Cat book series they measure cats in tail lengths, which equal 1 foot. But which animals out there have the longest tails? As you would think, big cats have longer tails than housecats, with lions having tails up to 41 inches long — almost 3 1/2 feet. But we can go bigger. A giraffe’s tail looks short and cute on its owner, but can be up to31 inches long, and elephant tails can reach 51 inches — that might be taller than you! Of course, if you think of a worm as one big squiggly tail, the winner is the bootlace worm, the longest animal on earth: it can grow to 180 feet long. No matter how much of that counts as tail, it’s going to be longer than anyone else’s!
Wee ones: Who has the shorter tail, a girl cat with an 8-inch tail or a boy cat with a 12-inch tail?
Little kids: If a 3-foot alligator has a 3-foot tail, how long is the whole animal? Bonus: If you have a pet giraffe with a 31-inch tail, a lion with a 41-inch tail, and an elephant with a 51-inch tail…what tail length would come next to follow the pattern?
Big kids: If a cat tail length is 12 inches, how long is a Warrior Cat who is 3 tails long? Bonus: Who is taller, an elephant’s 51-inch tail or you — and by how much? (Reminder: A foot has 12 inches.)
The sky’s the limit: If the bootlace worm can count 160 feet of itself as “tail,” how many times would a possum’s 15-inch tail have to double in length to match that? It works out perfectly…
Wee ones: The girl cat at 8 inches.
Little kids: 6 feet. Bonus: A 61-inch tail, if we can find one.
Big kids: 36 inches. Bonus: Different for everyone…take your height in feet and inches, and subtract 51 from it, or subtract it from 51.
The sky’s the limit: You double it 7 times. 15 inches doubles to 30 inches, which then doubles to 60 inches – which is exactly 5 feet. From there we double it to 10, 20, 40, 80, and finally 160 feet. Another way to solve: 15 inches is 1 1/4, feet, which doubles up to 2 1/2 feet and then 5 feet, and so on.
And thank you Nhya L-G for this great math topic!