Real Life. Either its tail is shaped differently from what its Real Life counterpart would have, or its tail moves around differently from how it should in Real Life. Sometimes its tail is shaped the way it would be shaped in Real Life, but the shape is more exaggerated than it would really appear. One example is that some cartoon dogs are drawn with tails that look like that of a cat. Dogs may have the widest variety of tail shapes of all animals, but most dogs in Real Life do not have tails that look completely like a typical cat's tail - long with a round or blunt end. A variant of this trope is for a dog with a tail close to the look of a cat's tail but still typical of the breed to have its tail move like that of a cat at least sometimes. In Real Life, a dog's tail should not curl, twitch, or wave like a cat's tail, even if its tail does look like a cat's tail. Other common examples:
- Wolves with overly bushy tails. In Real Life, wolves have somewhat bushy tails, but not to the extent of foxes.
- Cartoon cats from the 1940's and onwards that have tails that taper to a fine point like that of a newborn kitten. Older kittens and adult cats usually have long tails that have a rounded or blunt end. A cat's tail can taper, but usually not like the tail of many cartoon cats.
- Cartoon chipmunks that have deer-like tails. Real chipmunks have much longer tails similar to that of a squirrel, but thinner.
- Theropod dinosaurs with flexible, bendy tails that may or may not drag on the ground. Theropod dinosaurs are supposed to have stiff and thick tails that are used for balance and leg powering (sometimes this is a case of Science Marches On however).
- Similarly, pterosaurs (especially if it's a Pteranodon) with long tails. In real life, most of them have short tails. However, some pterosaurs like Rhamphorhynchus have long tails, but they do not have crests like Pteranodon.
- Most animals with bushy tails have them portrayed as tapering to a point, when in Real Life, bushy tails are more likely to have a blunt or rounded tip.
- Unusually thin and/or fur-covered tails on mice.
- Zebras with horse-like tails.
- Skunks usually have "neater" tails that taper to a point, rather than the bushy brush-like ones they have in real life. The pattern will often be portrayed with two thin white stripes going through the tail, black at the ends, though typical real life skunks have tails with white at the ends.
- Saber-toothed cats (particularly Smilodon) tend to be depicted with long tails similar to other big cats, instead of short tails like in real life.
- Hippos with long tails with a tuft at the end. Real hippos have short hairless tails.
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- Example: Ursa Major (The Big Dipper) and Ursa Minor (The Little Dipper) are constellations shaped like bears with unusually long, catlike tails. Lampshaded and justified by the myth they're based on.
- The wolves of the The Black Blood Alliance have the common, taper off-to-a-point variety. (but surprisingly they are not overly bushy, considering they are sparkledogs).
- Marsupilami may be the best example of this trope, with a long, skinny tail far longer than his own body. Then again, he is a fictional species.
- In the fanfic Tails of the Old Republic, a crossover/ Fusion Fic between Sonic the Hedgehog and the videogame Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Tails the fox has two tails like in the games and other media he regularly features in, but taken to extremes here. Not only can he fly with them, fight with them, and even shield himself with them, now that he's been aged up to adolescence, Tails' namesakes are now twice as long as he is tall!
- Balto has the common, taper off-to-a-point variety.
- Meeko the raccoon from Pocahontas has a tail that looks really thick at the base and tapers to a fine point, whereas real raccoons usually have tails with a blunt tip or have one that at least doesn't taper as much◊. To be fair, a raccoon's tail can taper to a fine point but most raccoons' tails do not look that thick at the base.
- "Pet Me, Poppa" from Guys and Dolls has the The Goldwyn Girls dressed as pussy cats swinging around totally un-catlike tails.
- They are supposed to be dressed like housecats, but their tails look vaguely like lion's tails.
- Averted with The Chipmunks in the two live action Alvin and the Chipmunks movies and the Chipettes in the second one; they have tails like real chipmunks.
- Subverted in the cartoons, where they don't even have tails.
- Rafiki from The Lion King is a mandrill that has a tail like a baboon.
- The weasels in Who Framed Roger Rabbit have short, stubby tails rather than longish catlike tails like real weasels.
- The mice in Disney's Cinderella have wire-thin tails about the width of a drawn line.
- The mice in The Great Mouse Detective have thin tails, while the rat Ratigan has a long, fleshy, wormlike tail differentiating him from the mice, among other things...
- The coelacanths from Atlantis The Lost Empire for some reason have extremely small normal-looking fish tails. In real life, a coelacanth's tail is actually large and paddle-shaped.
- Near the middle of Aladdin, the Genie actually transforms Abu the monkey into an elephant... ...with a monkey tail.
- Averted in Kung Fu Panda 2 where Shen's wolves are all drawn with round, bushy tails.
- Real moose have stumpy little tails, even shorter than that of most other deer. Morris the Moose, from the eponymous picture book series, has a long tail with a tuft on the end, kind of like a unicorn!
- Russell the otter from Happy Tree Friends has a flat tail like a beaver.
- Also from Happy Tree Friends: Giggles, Flaky, and Cro-Marmot all lack tails, as did Mime during the TV series but was given it back later on. On an antonymous note, Splendid and Petunia have tails that are equal to them in both height and width, if not larger than that.
- Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb has a "waffle"◊ striped tail that isn't teal, like the rest of his body. Platypi are known for their "duck bills" and their "beaver tails," especially after Perry's theme song which claims "he's got a beaver tail and a bill." Real platypi have furry tails. The only similarity to beavers' tails◊ is that they are both wide and flat.
- He also uses it one time while he's swimming, but real platypuses use mostly only their front limbs in swimming and steer with their hind legs and tails.
- Candace's imaginary talking zebra has a tail more closely resembling that of a horse.
- Spike from Rugrats has a catlike tail.
- Scooby-Doo is a Great Dane and has a tail like one◊, but it often curls and waves like that of a cat.
- The Classic Disney Shorts have some characters with unnatural tails.
- Daisy Duck, a female duck, has curled tail feathers, a trait exclusive to male ducks.
- Mice have thin, naked tails, but Mickey, Minnie and Mortimer Mouse have tails that are unusually thin even for mice. Pluto has the same kind of tail, despite being a dog.
- Pluto's tail usually acts like a normal dog's tail and seems fairly stiff most of the time
- Chip 'n Dale, have short tails that end in a point, sort of like deer tails.
- Itchy from the "Itchy and Sratchy Show" on The Simpsons, like Mickey Mouse, has a tail that is unusually thin for a mouse.
- The mice and rats in Don Bluth's The Secret of NIMH and An American Tail have unusually thin, fur-covered tails. Seems to be fairly standard for animated mice.
- Jerry's tail from Tom and Jerry is rather short, and fur-covered. In some shorts it also seems to be elastic. Tom's tail is rather short too, and tapers to a point.
- Toopy from Toopy And Binoo has a really short, naked tail that looks like the rattle at the end of a rattlesnake's tail.
- Arnold the Pit Bull from Tiny Toon Adventures has a tail like a cat instead of like a dog.
- The Brain from Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain has a tail like a real mouse, except it is kinked in a way that it looks like stairs.
- Although in this case, considering it was the ACME experiments that gave him the inflated head, intelligence and ego, it's fairly safe to say that that was a side-effect of one of the experiments. Or, at least, Pinky getting it caught in a door or something.
- Sylvester and a lot of other Looney Tunes cats have tails that taper to a fine point.
- Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh has a springy tail with a blunt tip that he can bounce on. Also Eeyore has a tall that is like a normal donkey's, except it is nailed into his body. Then again, they're technically toys.
- Evil the Cat from Earthworm Jim has a naked tail like a rat.
- Bonkers: D. Bobcat is a mild example; his tail is considerably longer that of a real bobcat.
- The ponies in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic have prehensile tails. Nevermind that they're mostly hair. Their tails also tend to be large, wide and arc-shaped, as opposed to a real horse's hanging, loose tail.
- Having the ponies' tails constantly raised up is important in giving them a distinctive, memorable silhouette.
- Zecora's tail has a lot more hair on it then a real zebra tail.
- The hippo seen in "Pinkie Pride" has a tail more similar to that of a rhino's.
- Counting Cougar in T.U.F.F. Puppy has a tail more like that of Kitty Katswell than that of a real cougar.
- The title character of The Amazing World of Gumball and his mother are cats with tails that are basically rigid sticks.