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There is a reason most vertebrates have tails. They can propel you through the water, free up your other limbs for multitasking, are great for balancing, can bait predator and prey alike, are good for showing your intentions and they can swat flies. Why stop there? If it works on a small pest, why not a larger one? You may not have the thumbs necessary for cracking a whip or swinging a chain but your tail can be just as good.
Prehensile Tails can be flexible enough to hit things but not all of them are powerful enough to be effective deterrents. For added power, some tails have a weapon attached. See Beware My Stinger Tail for those. Also compare with Combat Tentacles.
Anime and Manga
- Dragon Ball has Goku, Korin and Freeza do this. Usually for comedy.
- The Nine-tailed Fox's tails in Naruto are incredibly strong, sharp, and hot; they can devastate mountains and raise tsunamis, as well as pierce human flesh and leave chakra behind, which repeatedly burns and heals the affected area.
- The Lizard likes to do this in Spider-Man stories.
- Also, the Lizard's copy cat Komodo from the Avengers stories is capable of this
- Godzilla will sometimes attack this way in his movies.
- Littlefoot's mother in The Land Before Time (see the dinosaur Real Life example below)
- The Raptors in Jurassic Park occasionally but they use their claws more
- At the end of Dinosaur, Aladar and Neera use their tails to attack the Carnotaurus.
- Master Viper's fighting style is based primarily around this in Kung Fu Panda, despite being a viper.
- The Super Shark from Sy Fy's Super Shark attacks this way, which would be fine(see real life) except it does not seemed to be based off a species known for it. Then again, it is "super".
- Raptor Red by Robert T Bakker uses the Diplodocus version, calling them 'whip-tails'.
- In the Redwall series, the otters frequently use their tails as a weapon; the strongest and most skilled can knock an enemy unconscious with a single slap from their tail.
Live Action TV
- Dinosaurs: four-legger Monica gets a job as a tree pusher at Earl's job site. She can knock over a whole lot of trees at once by slapping with her tail.
Mythology and Religion
- The tail is something most people forget about when depicting the Behemoth, except for those who think it was a dinosaur. Most sources depict it as an hippopotamus or a bull, animals most definitely not known for powerful tails.
- Dolphins use their tails to stun fish, slamming them through the water at high speed to create a wave of energy that stuns and confuses the fish.
- Some sharks can cut a man in half with a swipe of their tails.
- Most lizards, crocodilians and similar bodied reptiles, even juvenile water dragons.
- Dinosaurs in the Diplodocus family of sauropods had long tails that apparently seem to have been whip like. Possibly other sauropods as well, they all had long, muscular tails.
- As mentioned in the description, cattle make use of their tails to swat flies, as it can reach everywhere their head and legs do not and has multiple ends they have trouble avoiding. They give the same treatment farm hands they don't like.
- Catfish don't have stingers but many species have fins bony enough that people will often assume they were stung by something if hit by them in murky water. Yes, this includes the tail fin.
- Dungeons and Dragons. During 1st Edition a Dragon Magazine article gave dragons a tail attack usable against creatures directly behind them. In 2nd Edition this was officially added to the game.
- Pokémon Black and White: Minccino and Cinccino's Signature Move is the Trope Namer. They usually use their tails to sweep away dust, but at a high enough level can use it offensively in combat. In addition, the moves Slam, Iron Tail , and Aqua Tail are this trope.
- A variation, Tauros has whip like tails, but instead of swatting others it swats itself to psyche up.
- Anything that can be taught Iron Tail or Aqua Tail could count as this, though to a slightly lesser degree than Minccino and Cinccino.
- Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog can defeat most enemies with a simple swipe of his tails.
- This primarily how Gex fights.
- This is also primarily how Croc fights, despite being a crocodile!
- Jurassic Park Warpath makes use of the dinosaur version
- Nearly ditto Primal Rage. Sauron (no not THAT one) and Diablo (no not THAT one) have tail-swinging blows, as does Vertigo).
- Dragon pets in Mabinogi always finish their combo on an enemy by spinning in a complete circle and bashing the enemy with their tail.
- In Battle for Wesnoth, the campaign unit Merman Brawlers can use their fish tails to hit and stun their enemies, slowing them. Also, the downloadable setting "Era of Magic" has the lizardfolk's Chaos Riders, who can use their Chaos Wyverns to perform a "tail sweep" at the enemies.
- In Blaz Blue, Makoto (a squirrel girl) does this in some of her grab attacks.
- Super Mario Bros 3 has the raccoon suit's tail as well as the P-Wing and tanuki suit. In Super Mario 3D Land, this is extended to a lot of things.
- In La-Mulana, the boss Tiamat can whip out her massive tail to do a lot of damage to Lemeza.
- Crocodile-like enemies in Earthbound can "swing their tail very hard" as an attack.
- Bullsquids from Half Life possess surprisingly powerful spinning tail-smack finisher which often reduces a victim to Ludicrous Gibs.
- Gary the Rat's tail is strong enough to knock a man out a building with a flick.
- Grimlock from Transformers when not in Robot mode.
- The Kangaroo Monsters of Courage the Cowardly Dog
- Whiplash in the original He-Man line. He gets clubbed the 2002 run.
- Dragons too, as people are roughly proportional to flies next to them.
- The white whale from Moby Dick.
- Katz uses his extra limb for an advantage during a handball game in Courage The Cowardly Dog.
- Again the Godzilla animated series feature this. Both of them.
- which involves the tail becoming encased in metal