Follow TV Tropes

Following

Prehensile Tail

Go To

https://mediaproxy.tvtropes.org/width/350/https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Tiefling_Tail_7115.jpg
Advertisement:

Wouldn't life be just super if you had an extra hand? One that could be used to fetch your coffee or dial your phone? Or throttle the crap out of that yappy dog? Look no further than behind you, attached to your spine. If you are a bit of a pickpocket in the midst of those that keep watching where your hands are at, this might become extremely useful.

It's the world of fiction. In here you can be far less picky with species. Dogs? Sure. Cats? Why not. Lizard Folk? Certainly. Monkeys? Duh. Gorillas? ... well we said monkeys, already, didn't we?

Also a common feature on cartoon depictions of snakes or snake-like characters, who have no arms or hands otherwise.

It should be noted that a few Beast Men and most Horny Devils both tend to have these for Fantastic Arousal Service. For the less dexterous there may still be another option. See also Beware My Stinger Tail when the tail has stuff attached, and Handy Feet for other dexterous appendages. Can fall under Bizarre Alien Limbs.

Advertisement:

Just to mention, "prehensile" means "adapted for seizing, grasping, or taking hold of something". As the page image so clearly demonstrates.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • The mascot for the Australian energy matchmaking service "Foxie" uses her tail to pull the draw-cords on lamps.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Ulquiorra's second form has a tail which he uses for slamming people into the ground and holding people up by the throat, let alone the fact it looks like a whip.
  • The Demon Girl Next Door: Yuko, the titular "demon girl", has a particularly long spade-tipped tail which she can freely move with conscious effort. She often pokes, prods, pats, or slaps people with its tip, or wraps her tail around them as a show of affection, though she's not capable of grasping with it. It's highly reactive to her emotions, and it often betrays her true feelings when she's trying to bluff, boast, or brag to save face. She finds it extremely inconvenient; it's a point of weakness as when something happens to the tip of it, she feels it all over her body, and all too often people will grab her by the tail when she's trying to get away from them.
  • Digimon:
    • Digimon Adventure: MetalSeadramon grabs Scorpiomon with his tail and sends him falling to his death as punishment for his failure.
    • Digimon Tamers:
      • Sandiramon constricts Kyubimon with his tail. Concept art and action figures depict him holding a staff with his tail but he does not do this in the anime.
      • Megidramon does a similar thing to Beelzemon shortly before Beelzemon kills Makuramon and breaks free.
    • Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Who Leapt Through Time: Regardless of form, Gumdramon is able to manipulate his tail as freely as his arms. Even more so since his tail is extendable to an unknown limit. As Arresterdramon, he can even use it to constrict things with crushing force. Beware My Stinger Tail is also in effect as Gumdramon's tail ends in a hammer and Arresterdramon's ends in a trident.
  • DokiDoki! PreCure: The fairy Melan invokes this in her dragon form. When Cure Diamond attacks her from behind, Melan attacks her from behind by whipping her tail.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Young Saiyans, like Goku, have tails capable of supporting their body weight, but it's unknown if adult Saiyans can suspend themselves with their tails. In fact, Saiyan tails are notoriously sensitive, and the only instance of a full-grown Saiyan using their tail to attack is when Raditz knocks Krillin through Kame House early on in DBZ.
    • Frieza is especially notorious for using his highly prehensile tail to not only bludgeon opponents, but strangle them. Unfortunately, his tail becomes a minor weak point when Goku decides to bite him to avoid being decapitated.
    • Cell is quite similar, strangling Trunks with his tail before stealing his time machine and attempting to do the same to Android 16.
  • Kekkaishi has Princess, a kitsune who has nine tails that she often uses to wrap an opponent to the point of nearly mummifying them.
  • Makai Senki Disgaea: Etna uses her demon tail as a third hand in the trailer.
  • My Hero Academia: Mashirao Ojiro's power manifests itself as a large, prehensile tail. He can use it to grab things or attack enemies in the form of a Tail Slap.
  • Naruto: The Tailed Beasts' tails can be used as extra limbs. It's incredibly easy for their hosts to utilize the tails (and chakra appendages), even though a gentle grasp can crush boulders.
  • To Love-Ru: Deviluke's inhabitants. Most of them, especially the females also can have Fantastic Arousal with their tails.
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5: Kawarino blocks attacks with his tails. He can temporarily concetrates his enemies' powers by in his tails rotating them.

    Comic Books 
  • Cheetah can use her tail to grab and strangle foes. At the start of "The Witch and the Warrior", Cheetah uses his tail to strangle Superman. He's working for Circe at the time so its unclear which of their magic allowed the attack to be so effective.
  • Critter has a metal tail made of an unknown composition that Cass can control as a fifth limb via her telekinesis. She uses this to aid her movement through the city and as an extra limb to attack or incapacitate her opponents.
  • Hellboy: Hellboy has one, which made him seem kind of monkey-like as a baby.
  • Marsupilami: The Marsupilami has a several-meters-long tail that can grab things and even twist itself in a knot to punch foes.
  • Spiderman: While normally used to shoot acid, classic villain Scorpion was very able to use his mechanical tail to take hostages if he needed to by wrapping it around potential victims.
  • Nightcrawler: Part of the Herr Wagner's physical mutation is a long, prehensile tail. How capable is it? Swashbuckler Kurt has been known to use it to wield a THIRD sword when he's Dual Wielding, and he's more than capable of matching master fencers with it. This is in addition to it being strong enough to lift a full sized adult's body off the ground or restrain a punching fist.
Advertisement:

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert: There's a monkey who has an advantage over humans in the workplace because of his tail. He has directly questioned why humans designed the default mouse and keyboard layout, since the arrangement seems specifically made to accomodate two hands for typing and a tail to use the mouse.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Home on the Range: The cows can't really hold anything in their hooves, so the animators gave them prehensile tails and tail tufts instead.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Viper and Tai Lung can grab things with their tails. Tai Lung's ability to do this is instrumental in his escaping from imprisonment. Since his hands are tied up, he uses his tail to pick the lock of his shackles with a feather.
  • The Return of Hanuman: Maruti uses his tail once to grasp on a branch to hang on.
  • Rango: Rattlesnake Jake, who wields a gatling gun in place of a rattle at the end of his tail. Despite this handicap, he is dextrous enough to be able to take fill a small glass with his venom and divest Rango's sixshooter of all but one of it's bullets.
  • Son of Batman: During his fight with Batman, Killer Croc uses his tail to grab various things, including Batman himself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien: The aliens tend to use their tails to lift people up after impaling them on their tail tips.
  • The Host: The fish-creature uses its tail to brachiate under bridges and to carry off its victims.
  • Outlander: The Moorwen is a giant, lizardish thing, but its prehensile tail can be used to grasp, slice, or impale its victims.

    Literature 
  • Ciaphas Cain: In Death or Glory, a young tech-priestess of the Adeptus Mechanicus has a mechadendrite attached to the base of her spine. Besides engineering work, she uses it to operate an improvised weapon while piloting a Sentinel load-lifter, grab extra snack bars, or freak people out by leaning on it while it's under her robes, making it look like she's sitting on thin air. The question of course is how Cain came to know exactly where the mechanical tentacle was attached to the woman.
    Inquisitor Amberley Vail: How Cain discovered this we can only speculate; perhaps it came up in casual conversation.
  • Race Against Time: The protagonist first figures out he's not really living in a 20th-century small town when he discovers that his dog climbs trees and his kitten has a prehensile tail.
  • Redwall: Squirrels are often described as hanging by their tails, something real s squirrels cannot do.
  • Septimus Heap: These are the main weapons of Land Wurms, with which they grab their prey and hold them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: Parodied in an episode where the foursome is playing a group roleplaying game as bad guys approach and Leonard mentions they're on his tail... but it's prehensile, so it's not a problem.
    Leonard: They're on my tail! But it's prehensile so I can handle them.
  • Power Rangers: More than a few Zords and monsters have prehensile tails.
  • Teen Wolf: Jackson acquires one when he becomes a reptilian creature called a kanima. Though he later becomes a werewolf, he retains some of his former kanima abilities including the ability to grow a tail. In the series finale he uses his tail to knock out a bad guy while tied up and then lifts the keys to his handcuffs from the guy's pocket.
  • Ultra Series: Tons of kaiju have this ability in the various series, often overlapping with Tail Slap. The most infamous of them is Eleking from Ultraseven, who can wrap his tail around an Ultraman or another monster and electrocute them with it.

    Pinballs 
  • Fathom: The mermaids have long serpentine tails that are used to grab undersea anchors and choke unwary swimmers.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Fraggle Rock: The Fraggles have somewhat prehensile tails — they can be used as paintbrushes and can wrap around each other to play tug-o'-tails (like tug-o'-war, but with ... you know). According to the episode "Wembley's Wonderful Whoopee Water", they are also strong enough to support their owners' whole weight.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Tieflings in the 4th edition can take a feat that gives them this (see page image above). You can even pick locks or pockets with it. Multiple female Tieflings in D&D works have made jokes about the myriad uses of their tails.
    • In 3.5th edition, a namesake feat from both Serpent Kingdom and Savage Species can make the tail of any species with a tail attack prehensile enough to wield weapons. Please also note the Warshaper Prestige Class, with which a shapechanger can grow a tail attack; combined with this feat, it means a prehensile tail in pretty much any form.
    • The evil apelike su-monsters have prehensile tails, which they use to hang upside down in ambush, freeing up all of its claws for an attack. They also have a signed language that's spoken entirely with the tail.
  • Hc Svnt Dracones: A Surgery, the flavor text of which indicates it may have been intended for rats and certain species of lizard, but Pulse held it back until it could be applied to any species of Vector.
  • Pathfinder: Tieflings can take the alternate racial trait "prehensile tail", which lets them retrieve small objects from their person as a swift action. Since the default trait it replaces is only useful for sorcerers, most take the tail.
  • Mice and Mystics: Unlike the other mice, Filch the Lovable Rogue can wield a dagger with his tail, potentially letting him triple-wield.
  • Munchkin Star Munchkin has a Tailgun item only usable by Felines. What makes it notable for this trope is that the art depicts a normal-looking gun meant for hands curled up in a Prehensile Tail, not a gun specially designed to be tail-mounted.
  • Warhammer: Some Skaven are dexterous enough to wield a weapon with their tails on top of Dual Wielding with their hands, such as the infamous assassin Deathmaster Snikch. Skaven heroes in the spinoff skirmish game Mordheim can pick up the "Tail Fighting" skill to do the same, while the models for Skaven Throwers in Blood Bowl's 5th Edition are depicted passing the ball with their tails — though in that game, prehensile tails are a mutation that any mutant players are able to develop as they level up, not just Skaven.

    Video Games 
  • Albion: Two recruitable aliens use this as a separate equipment slot, capable of holding either a one-handed weapon or a shield (the former being the game's only instance of Dual Wielding.)
  • BlazBlue: Continuum Shift: Makoto Nanaya slaps her opponent silly with her big squirrel tail during her throw.
  • Crypt of the NecroDancer: Coda is a goblin-like creature who wields a dagger in the coiled tip of her long tail — and, indeed, besides being a musical term, "coda" means "tail" in Italian.
  • Final Fantasy IX: Zidane Tribal has a prehensile monkey tail, although he only uses it once (to hang from the rafters of the pilot's cabin of an Airship). He makes a more combative use for it in the introduction cutscene to Dissidia Final Fantasy, hanging onto Tidus' leg, who then sends him soaring at Exdeath in order to break his concentration.
  • Gigantic: Mozu uses her tail to wield a magic wand.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Sora's lion form in Kingdom Hearts II normally holds his Keyblade in his mouth, but at one point, he briefly holds it with his tail while opening a new pathway between the worlds.
  • Pokémon: Aipom and its evolved form Ambipom are monkeys with hands on their tails — one in Aipom's case, and two for Ambipom. Their Pokédex entries specify some uses, such as shucking nuts, communicating (by connecting with the tails of other Aipom/Ambipom), balance (when leaping from tree branches), and attacking (specifically, with Double Hit, the move that enables Aipom to evolve into Ambipom). Many of Aipom's Pokédex entries also indicate that since it deftly uses its tail so much, its real hands have become rather clumsy.
  • Sonic Lost World: Tails, who mainly uses his two tails for flying, uses one of them to grab a toothpick from Zomom's sandwich and reprogram Zavok's machine to prevent it from turning him into a brainwashed robot.
  • Spyro in Spyro: A Hero's Tail uses his purple dragon tail to grab on and swing on poles this way to get across areas that are too wide for him to fly and he needs to use poles to get across them.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: Dr. Bright considers this one of the reasons he likes simian bodies.
  • RWBY: Some Faunus characters have this:
    • Sun Wukong from uses his monkey tail to hang from a lamppost and drink tea, among other things.
    • Tyrian Callows has a scorpion tail that is also prehensile.
  • Sock Series: The smoking demon is just a head with a tail, but it can move its tail like an arm.
  • One of the many rules put in place for Mr Welch specifically forbids him from having a prehensile anything.

    Western Animation 
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Drago has used his tail as an extra limb.
  • Ben 10: Kevin 11 has a tail like this when he's in his mutant form. It's used very rarely, however.
  • DC Nation: In Bat Man in Shanghai, Catwoman has a long tail she can use to grab things and move around with.
  • Kim Possible: In "The Full Monkey", when Kim is turned into a humanoid monkey, she uses her tail to grab a weight out of Doug's hand and throw it at Monkey Fist, then undoes the shackles on her chair.
  • Gary the Rat: Gary's is used for Amusing Injuries because even though it's fully capable of moving around and grabbing things, he just drags it with reckless abandon.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012): Pepper, a skunk, can grab various things with her tail. She can also balance atop of it for increased height.
  • Masters of the Universe:
    • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): Whiplash has a long tail he primarily uses as a weighted cudgel in battle, through he has shown to be able to pick up small things when he needs it. Oddly enough, aptly named Lizard Man lacks this quality.
    • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
      • Scorpia has a scorpion-like tail ending with a stinger that allows her to club and paralyze anyone who comes within range. She is a rather downplayed example, however as she isn't able to use it for much else.
      • Double Trouble has a long, reptilian tail which they use to nick Bow's tracker pad and then carry it around. With their shapeshifting, they are also able to replicate Scorpia's tail.
    • She-Ra: Princess of Power:
      • Scorpia can use her scorpion tail to wrap around and immobilize opponents. In one episode, she uses it to prevent her teammate Mantenna from putting his foot in his mouth.
      • Konseal have monkey-like tails that can lift human-sized characters up into the air.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The ponies are occasionally shown to have prehensile tails, despite the tails apparently consisting only of hair (although Pinkie Pie at least does have full Prehensile Hair as well). They are often useful for doing things which would normally be difficult due to lack of hands. Most notably Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy. Which makes Rarity cutting off her tail in the second episode seem more violent.
    • One of the most prominent examples of this is in "Buckball Season", where Fluttershy repeatedly and deliberately uses her tail to great effect to catch and deflect incoming buckballs throughout the episode, even holding one in her tail at one point.
    • Ahuizotl, Daring Do's arch-nemesis, has a hand on the end of his tail, just as ahuizotls were said to have in Aztec Mythology.
    • Discord also uses his tail this way, with the added bonus that he can stretch it to any length at will, most often to wrap around a pony and bring her face-to-face with him. He once does a Badass Fingersnap with the tuff of white fur at the end of it (to keep it more discreet than his usual show of magic).
  • The New Adventures of Jonny Quest: The Reptilian in "Peril of the Reptilian" has a big, powerful tail that he can use to smash things or grab people.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • Ferguson wonders how much "Action" he could get if he had a real Prehensile Tail.
    • Miss Heinous has one as well about which Saint Olga tells her an old "Rhyme": Guys don't make passes at girls with devil.. tails.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Fifi LaFume can use her tail to grab "boyfriends", as a bat (as seen in "Buster at the Bat"), as a shield (as seen in the Defenders of the Universe licensed game), and to spray stink (being a skunk and all).
  • Looney Tunes: Similarly Pepe Le Pew has been known to use his tail to ensnare prospective girlfriends.
  • Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!: Wubbzy can use his tail to wrap around and hold objects. The show's first episode, "A Tale of Tails", addresses his prehensile tail as the main story element.
  • The Lionhearts: As a retired circus star, Lana Lionheart can grab things in the tassel of her tail.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: The Shen Gon Wu Monkey Staff gradually transforms it's user into a monkey, offering enhanced strength and agility useful for a kung-fu master. In addition as the transformation nears completion, the user will sprout a tail which has all the utility of a normal monkey's tail, including allowing the user to lift their own bodyweight (or others').

    Real Life 
  • Some animals have this, like New World monkeys, chameleons, possums, and seahorses — primarily for the purpose of holding onto branches. Here's the full list.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report