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Prehensile Tail

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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.


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


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

    Anime & Manga 
  • In 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.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The Saiyans' tails, though only Goku gets the best use of it.
    • 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.
    • 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, & the only instance of a full-grown Saiyan using their tail to attack was when Raditz knocked Krillin through Kame House early on in DBZ.
  • The Pokémon Aipom has one of these, with an actual hand on the end. Its evolved form Ambipom takes this to a higher level by having TWO prehensile tails, hence the name of the Pokémon being a play on the word "ambidextrous".
  • Deviluke's inhabitants of To Love-Ru, of course. Most of them, especially the females also can have Fantastic Arousal with their tails.
  • Kekkaishi has Princess, a kitsune who has nine tails that she often uses to wrap an opponent to the point of nearly mummifying them.
  • In 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 Tailed Beasts' tails in Naruto can be used as "extra limbs". Oddly, it is incredibly easy for their hosts to utilize the tails (and chakra appendages), even though a gentle grasp can crush boulders.
  • Kawarino from Yes! Pretty Cure 5 blocks attacks with his tails. He can temporarily concetrates his enemies' powers by in his tails rotating them.
  • The fairy Melan from DokiDoki! PreCure invokes this in her dragon form. When Cure Diamond attacks her from behind, Melan attacks her from behind by whipping her tail.
  • In Digimon Adventure, MetalSeadramon grabs Scorpiomon with his tail and sends him falling to his death as punishment for his failure.
  • Sandiramon in Digimon Tamers 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.
  • In 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.
  • Etna uses her demon tail as a third hand in the trailer for Makai Senki Disgaea.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • There's a monkey in Dilbert 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 
  • Abu in Aladdin.
  • Maruti from The Return of Hanuman uses his tail once to grasp on a branch to hang on.
  • The cows from Home on the Range can't really hold anything in their hooves, so the animators gave them prehensile tails and tail tufts instead.
  • Dragon in Shrek.
  • In Kung Fu Panda Viper and Tai Lung are demonstrated to have this ability and for the latter, it was instrumental in escaping imprisonment. Since his hands were all tied up he used his tail to pick the lock of his shackles with a feather.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Moorwen from Outlander is a giant, lizardish thing, but its prehensile tail can be used to grasp, slice, or impale its victims.
  • The vampire spawn from Van Helsing, which is weird because the parents are tailless.
  • The aliens in Alien tend to use their tails to lift people up via impalement.
  • Likewise, Azazel in X-Men: First Class has one of these.
  • Godzilla has one of these in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. This is the only film in which he demonstrates this ability.
  • Otachi and Slattern in Pacific Rim.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Splinter is able to extend his tail and use it like another arm. Seeing him fighting the Foot Clan with it was pretty neat.
  • The fish-creature from The Host uses its tail to brachiate under bridges and to carry off its victims.

  • In the Ciaphas Cain novel 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.
  • In Piers Anthony's 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.
  • Squirrels in the Redwall series hang by their tails a lot.
  • These are the main weapons of Land Wurms in Septimus Heap, with which they grab their prey and hold them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. The foursome are playing a group roleplaying game as bad guys approach.
    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.
  • Jackson on Teen Wolf acquired one when he became a reptilian creature called a kanima. Though he later becomes a werewolf, he retains some aspects 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.
  • Tons of kaiju have this ability in the various Ultra 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.

  • The mermaids of Fathom 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. 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.
    • Su-monsters have prehensile tails.
  • A biomod in Eclipse Phase, popular for spacers. Though some ape uplifts may find it insulting.
  • A Surgery in Hc Svnt Dracones, the flavor text 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.
  • In Pathfinder, Tieflings can take the alternate racial trait "prehensile tail". Since the default trait it replaces is only useful for sorcerers, most take the tail.
  • 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.
  • In 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 
  • As mentioned above, the Pokémon Aipom and its evolved form Ambipom are examples, both of which have hands on their tail(s). 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.
  • Makoto Nanaya from BlazBlue: Continuum Shift slaps her opponent silly with her tail during her throw.
  • Two recruitable aliens in Albion 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.)
  • Zidane Tribal of Final Fantasy IX has one, although he only used 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.
  • In 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.
  • Annah from Planescape: Torment is a Tiefling who has one, as it's a D&D game.
  • Mozu from Gigantic uses her tail to wield a magic wand.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: Dr. Bright considers this one of the reasons he likes simian bodies.
  • The Succubae from The Return.
  • Chakats have these.
  • Newter in Worm has one.
  • Some Faunus characters in RWBY have this:
    • Sun from uses his tail to hang from a lamppost and drink tea, among other things.
    • Tyrian has a scorpion tail that is also prehensile.

    Western Animation 
  • Boots, from Dora the Explorer.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: The Monkey Staff gives this power.
  • Sometimes Scooby-Doo's tail is this.
  • In the Kim Possible episode 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.
  • Jake Spidermonkey in My Gym Partner's a Monkey naturally has one of these.
  • Gary the Rat's is used for Amusing Injuries because even though it is fully capable of moving around and grabbing things, he just drags it with reckless abandon.
  • Fifi LaFume in Tiny Toon Adventures 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).
  • 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 in the series 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).
  • Dino from The Flintstones, but it is shown less after the first season.
  • Cheetah from Justice League, though it is not confirmed until the Doom movie.
  • Kevin 11 when he was in his mutant form in the original Ben 10 had a tail like this. It was used very rarely however.
  • In Littlest Pet Shop (2012), Pepper, a skunk, can grab various things with her tail. She can also balance atop of it for increased height.
  • Catwoman in the DC Nation shorts Bat Man in Shanghai has a long tail she can use to grab things and move around with.
  • Mr. Cat from Kaeloo can use his tail for a variety of tasks.
  • And who could forget Wubbzy's ever—so-prehensile tail in Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!? Wubbzy is seen using his tail to wrap around objects in almosst every episode. The show's very first episode, "A Tale of Tails", even addresses his prehensile tail as the main story element.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
  • Whiplash from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 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.
  • And on the other side of the fandom in She-Ra: Princess of Power, villainess Scorpia often uses her scorpion tail to wrap around and immobilize opponents, even once using it to prevent team-mate Mantenna from putting his foot in his mouth.
    • Meanwhile, for the Rebellion, Loo-Kee, and indeed all of his Konseal species, has a much cuter, furry tail that's been shown quite capable of lifting him or a similarly sized character up into the air.

    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.


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