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Tails used Tail Whip! The enemy Mecha Sally's defense fell!
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There are reasons 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.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • It's hard to notice, but Renamon whips one of the Flybeemon with her tail in Digimon Tamers. Also, as Kyubimon she whips Vajramon with her nine tails later on.
    • Earlier Allomon does this to her.
    • Mihiramon's main attack is Samurai Tiger Tail, which he uses on Kyubimon and Gargomon.
  • Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z has Goku, Giran, Korin, Raditz, and Frieza do this. Usually for comedy in early on (Saiyan tails are short, skinny little furry things that - without proper training - cause serious pain if even grabbed), but when a villain attacks with their tail, it's usually very serious (Frieza's tail is long, thick, and muscular enough to deal serious damage with a strike, or be used to constrict and asphyxiate someone, while Cell's tail, in addition to being similarly powerful, is tipped with a syringe that allows him to impale people and slowly absorb them).
    • Beerus, introduced in "Battle of Gods" and reintroduced in Dragon Ball Super, has a tail similar to Frieza's but somewhat less brawny and more whiplike. Because of his massive power he doesn't need to use it, but can if it suits him. In episode 18, Beerus hits Goku with his tail in his sleep while he and Vegeta are trying to change his sheets.
  • A somewhat different example of this shows up in a particular arc of Gintama, where Katsura and Gintoki have been turned into cats, and both them end up tearing off their tails and using them as improvised weapons. The former somehow manages to slice through a steel cage to free Gintoki and Kondo, but when he uses it against some Mooks, it's just a blunt weapon. One is probably better off not knowing what Kondo (Who's been turned into a gorilla) decides to improvise as a weapon, though...
  • The Chimera Ant King in Hunter × Hunter is one of the most powerful beings on earth and is fond of striking down anyone and anything that annoys him. His long needle-pointed tail can turn almost anyone it hits into a red mist and he is more than happy to use it.
  • In an early chapter of Kaiju Girl Caramelise, Kuroe undergoes a Partial Transformation into Harugon in which she starts to grow a tail. Later, after helping with the clean-up following a P.E. session she awkwardly sat out to hide said tail, she gets locked in the gym closet by several bullies jealous of her relationship with Arata Minami. Arata himself eventually arrives to free her, but before he can fully open the door, Kuroe slaps it back closed before he can see her in her current state.
  • Several Robeasts from Mazinger Z (such like Danchel or Deltan V8) and Great Mazinger (such like the whole Reptilian Warrior Beasts division) were endowed with powerful tails, capable to hit or coil around the enemy and strangle it. Often they had some weapon attached or shot missiles, acid or poison.
  • In Monster Rancher, this is one of Suezo's primary attacks. Poritoka has a legendary variant of this.
    • Gray Wolf whips Tiger in the eyes with his tail, blinding him during their battle.
    • Naga does this to Genki and Mocchi as well.
  • 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.
  • In Pokémon, Ash's Charmeleon, Giant Onix, Crystal Onix, Nurse Joy's Gyarados, and the pink Nidoking all - on separate occasions - whip Team Rocket with their tails to send them blasting off.
    • This is how Pikachu defeats Lt. Surge's Raichu in the first season.
    • In Advanced Generation, Pikachu learns the Iron Tail move, where it charges its tail (in later episodes the tail has an actual iron effect to it) and whips the enemy with it, a technique Pikachu uses frequently afterwards.
  • The Bikaku-type kagune in Tokyo Ghoul is essentially a tail, and described as the most balanced of the four types. It isn't as dramatic or powerful as the other types, but in exchange lacks any distinct weaknesses. Nishio uses his to strike at Kaneki from a distance, as well as wrapping it around his leg to make his kicks more powerful. In the Prequel Jack there's another bikaku type, Lantern, who uses theirs to, not only attack from a distance, but also to propel themself forwards and into the air.
  • In My Hero Academia, Mashirao Ojiro's power manifests itself as a large, prehensile tail. He uses it in combination with his martial arts skills, usually in the form of a tail slap. Given that his tail is much thicker and more muscular than his arms or legs, it packs quite the whallop.
  • The Lizard Priest from Goblin Slayer belongs to an intelligent species of lizard people. He is also an adventurer and very strong. His tail is so muscular that he can not only use it in combat, but also effortlessly kills several goblins with tail blows.

    Comic Books 
  • The Lizard likes to do this in Spider-Man stories.
  • The Lizard's copycat Komodo from The Avengers stories is capable of this.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield once does this to a spider, saying that he learned it from a Jersey cow.
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    Films — Animation 
  • The Land Before Time:
    • Littlefoot's mother in the first movie (see the dinosaur Real Life example below). And not just her, all adult sauropods in the franchise use their tail as their preferred method of combat.
    • And then Dil does the same to Ichy in Journey Through the Mists, sending him flying off into the distance.
      • Shortly before, Spike does this to Ichy, sending him into Dil's mouth.
  • Dinosaur:
    • At the end, Aladar use his tail to attack the Carnotaurus. At one of these battles the Carnotaurus also did the same thing to Aladar.
    • In addition to Aladar, Kron does before the carnotaur kills him, and earlier on, so does Bruton.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Master Viper's fighting style is based primarily around this, despite being a viper. However, this is justified due to her being born without her species' trademark venomous fangs.
  • Shrek the Third: Dragon uses a variant of this where she whips a tower with her tail, causing it to fall and crush Prince Charming.
  • Fantasia: In the "Rite of Spring" segment, a Stegosaurus uses its spiked tail to defend itself against a T. rex.
  • Toy Story 2: Rex gives Emperor Zurg one (accidentally), knocking him off an elevator.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Godzilla will sometimes attack this way in his movies. How Godzilla kills the male Muto in Godzilla (2014), coupled with Impaled with Extreme Prejudice (since it was slammed into a skyscraper and got a support beam through its spine.
  • The Raptors in Jurassic Park occasionally, but they use their claws more.
  • Many, many, MANY instances of it in Anaconda.
  • The Super Shark from Syfy's Super Shark attacks this way, which would be fine (see real life) except that it does not seem to be based off a species known for it. Then again, it is "super".
  • The crocodile does this to Kelly in Lake Placid.
  • Although not specifically structured as a weapon, Clover's tail in Cloverfield took out the Brooklyn Bridge with one swipe.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail usually applies to the Xenomorphs, but a Neomorph uses this trope to rip off a man's jaw in Alien: Covenant.

    Literature 
  • Raptor Red by Robert T Bakker uses the Diplodocus version, calling them "whip-tails".
  • Redwall:
    • 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.
    • Cluny, the first Big Bad in the series, combines this with Beware My Stinger Tail. He wears a poisoned barb on the end of his tail which he uses as a lethal weapon. Also, shortly after his first appearance, he gives one of his underlings a tail-lashing for insubordination.
  • Dinoverse: Having been placed in the body of a sauropod, Zane's tail is quite a weapon. Unfortunately he's too prone to panic to use it effectively.
  • In Animorphs andalites fight by attacking their opponent with their tail, at the end of which there is a long blade. Male andalites tend to have a larger tail blade than female ones. It later turns out that the tail blades have an important cultural meaning for the andalites.
    • Hork-Bajirs also have a tail, which is not only very muscular but also equipped with blades. However, since the tail is very short, they can only attack opponents who are right behind them.
    • Late in the plot, a girl named Colette also gains the strength to turn into animals. She prefers to fight as a crocodile, and also beats her opponents with her long, strong tail.
  • Taratzes in Maddrax occasionally attack with their tails. They can move it very agile.

    Live-Action TV 

    Myths & 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. Though some scholars propose that the line is not intended to be read as the behemoth having a massive tail like a cedar tree, but one that bends and shakes like a cedar bough in the wind.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The "Yoshi tail sweep" is a signature move of Chikara's Dragon Dragon.
  • Solo Darling has done so by dizzily spinning around after attaching a tail. This was refined into the "tailspin DDT".

    Puppet Shows 
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: A 1st Edition Dragon magazine article gives dragons a tail attack usable against creatures directly behind them. In 2nd Edition this is officially added to the game.
  • Magic: The Gathering: "Dragons of Tarkir" adds a spell titled Tail Slash, allowing a creature you control to deal direct damage to an opponent's creature.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones Vectors with long enough tails have tail attacks. Though aside from reptiles it doesn't have enough weight behind it to act as more than a distraction.
  • Pathfinder: Tail slap attacks are common additions for creatures with long tails. Havoc dragons are especially well-suited to using their long tails as lashing whips, and can use them to trip their foes. Old havoc dragons gain additionally powerful tail attacks, which deal three times the damage they would under normal conditions.

    Theme Parks 
  • This is how the titular fight of Godzilla vs. Evangelion: The Real 4-D at Universal Studios Japan ends: Godzilla, fed up with the constant interference of Shinji, Rei, and Asuka in their respective EVAs, slaps them away with his tail so he could fire his atomic breath at King Ghidorah without them getting in the way.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • BlazBlue: Makoto (a squirrel girl) does this in some of her grab attacks.
  • Chrono Trigger: One of Ayla's abilities summons a dino so huge you can only see its tail swinging across the screen, and does more more damage the closer she is to death.
  • EarthBound: Crocodile-like enemies can "swing their tail very hard" as an attack.
  • Endless Ocean: Despite aggressively baring their teeth, the sharks' attacks just consist of whipping you with their tails, knocking off part of your oxygen gauge.
  • Final Fantasy X has a few bosses:
    • The Sanctuary Keeper has a Tail Sweep attack that will both damage the entire party and delay everyone's next turn. (A bonus boss called Th'uban is nearly identical. The attack is instead called Condemn, which not only does heavy damage and delay, but also removes all beneficial status effects from the party.)
    • The Spectral Keeper has a Berserk Tail that will damage a single character and inflict Berserk at a very bad time. The attack could count as both a slap and a sting.
  • Half-Life: Bullsquids possess surprisingly powerful spinning tail-smack finisher which often reduces a victim to Ludicrous Gibs.
  • JP Rampage Edition: Both the playable and enemy Velociraptors can use a powerful whip attack with their tail.
  • Riptor from Killer Instinct can use this as a jump attack, coming down on her enemy.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance: The Tyranto Rex, Hebby Repp, Fin Fatale, Toximander, and their variants all have a tail smack as one of their attacks. The first of the four's is the most dangerous, as it spins to deliver multiple hits to everything around it and has the longest tail of the bunch by far.
  • La-Mulana: The boss Tiamat can whip out her massive tail to do a lot of damage to Lemeza.
  • Mabinogi: Dragon pets always finish their combo on an enemy by spinning in a complete circle and bashing the enemy with their tail.
  • Monster Hunter: Practically every monster with a tail of a decent length will use this in some manner; a simple Spin Attack being the most common form of it. A common means of reducing the threat is by cutting it off. Nargacuga in particular is capable of doing a deadly tail slam that has a hitbox twice the size of the tail.
  • Monster Rancher: Card battle 3 is the trope namer and it is mostly used by Dinos, Suezos and Nagas. Dragons also use this technique, but it is less common compared to their far more powerful attacks.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness: The relatively easy first boss, being a Warmup Boss, uses its tail as its primary means of attack. It's fireballs are easy to avoid, its punches and kicks are slower than yours, but it's tail can deal massive damage and knock you off your feet for getting too close.
  • Pokémon:
    • The move "Tail Whip" has existed since Gen 1, but merely lowers the opponent's defense without dealing any damage, and flavor text describes it as a cute gesture that puts the enemy off-guard rather than an actual attack. The Japanese name of the attack is actually "tail wag".
    • The Signature Move of Minccino and Cinccino is named Tail Slap. 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 Tailnote , and Aqua Tail follow this trope.
    • A variation: Tauros has whip-like tails, but instead of swatting others it swats itself to psyche up.
  • Primal Rage: Vertigo, Sauron and Diablo have tail-swinging blows.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Tails can defeat most enemies with a simple swipe of his twin namesakes.
    • Of all characters, Metal Sonic, who usually doesn't HAVE a tail, transforms into Metal Madness in Sonic Heroes, and one of his attacks is a tail whip, which he uses against Amy and Vector's teams.
  • 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.
  • Tekken: Boxing kangaroos Rodger and Rodger Jr and boxing velociraptor Alex all have moves where they use their tails to strike or trip their opponent.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dragons gains this ability after a patch, along with Wing Attack. This allows them to hit you even when you are not in front.
  • The Legend of Spyro:
    • The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning: When you fight Cynder as the final boss, one of her main attacks is a tail whip. She also uses her tail in a few melee attacks when you play as her in Dawn of the Dragon, but in this case she slashes with the blade on the tip of her tail.
    • The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon: The Golem does this as well when you are fighting some orcs at the beginning of his boss level.
  • Some of Ill-Goga's attacks in the Tobal games involve his tail.
  • Trip World: One of Yacopu's forms has a tail attack with a good range.
  • World of Warcraft: Never stand behind an enemy dragon or you'll get a face full of tail, which combines a cleave with a Knock Back.
  • Some characters in Super Smash Bros. can use this, including Yoshi, Fox, Mewtwo, and Charizard.
  • Battleborn: While technically identified as a tentacle, Pendles' quick melee attack is kind of a tail slap since the tentacle looks like a regular snake's tail.
  • Dino Crisis: Some of the dinosaurs can use their tails to smack Regina and knock her down. The same attack also has a chance to knock her gun out of her hand, effectively disarming her until you swap to another gun or retrieve your dropped weapon.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The Lizalfos enemies employ a tail slap as one of several Natural Weapons that they can use during combat in addition to their forged weapons.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: ???'s Tyrannomon can create earthquakes by slamming the ground with its tail.
    • K-Seal can break the ice by slamming it with his tail.
    • Rumble the Ankylosaurus can, fittingly, use his tail as a weapon.
  • Dreamscape: CHEN, the giant cyborg chameleon, can use his tail in combat.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The Kangaroo Monsters of Courage the Cowardly Dog.
    • Katz uses his extra limb for an advantage during a handball game.
  • All the Extreme Dinosaurs.
  • Gary the Rat's tail is strong enough to knock a man out a building with a flick.
  • The Godzilla animated series feature this. Both of them.
  • Whiplash in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). He gets clubbed the 2002 run.
    • Dragons too, as people are roughly proportional to flies next to them.
  • The white whale from Moby Dick.
  • After being corrupted by Discord, Fluttershy whips Twilight with her tail in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
  • Fifi LaFume in Tiny Toon Adventures, though usually not violently.
  • A dragon bird from The Legend of Korra pays Korra back for helping it earlier by giving an attacking Unalaq a well-deserved smack with its tail.
  • Grimlock from Transformers when not in Robot mode.
  • The Dragon Prince shows the young dragon Zym, who uses his tail to ward off annoying insects. Because he is still a baby, it is humorously shown, but adult dragons can do much more damage this way.
    • Pyrrah, a large red dragon, fends off several soldiers in an attack. Soren is hit hard by her tail and hurled against a rock.

    Real Life 
  • 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. Orca will use their tails against smaller prey as well, while humpback whales will use their own tails as weapons if attacked by orcas. This latter form of highly aggressive defense is one of the reasons that orcas prey on humpbacks much less often than they do on other baleen whales.
  • Thresher sharks use their tails to stun potential prey.
  • Most lizards, crocodilians, and similar-bodied reptiles, even juvenile water dragons.
    • Monitor lizards will do this, as seen here.note 
  • This was not an uncommon feature among dinosaurs, although some graduated to another trope:
    • Some sauropods, namely Diplodocus and its relatives such as Apatosaurus, had long tails that apparently seem to have been whiplike. Possibly other sauropods as well, as many had long, muscular tails.
    • The duckbilled hadrosaurs were probably capable of this too, especially seeing as they didn't appear to have any other methods of defense. With their long and muscular tails, they were probably able to deliver a pretty painful whipping to an opponent.
  • 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 that the flies have trouble avoiding. They give the same treatment to farm hands they don't like. Cattle tails are so good at flyswatting that royalty and nobility of many African cattle-herding peoples (and there are a lot of African cattle-herding peoples) traditionally bear fly-whisks made from the tail hairs of cows (usually attached to a wooden stick, often intricately carved or decorated) as insignia of their rank.
  • 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.
  • Some dog breeds, most notably greyhounds and their closer relatives, have thin, bony and muscular tails that can leave welts on a human if the animal gets in an excited enough state to wag their tail wildly.
  • Horses can do this if the tail hair is long enough, although it's usually accidental when it's simply trying to shoo a fly away. But like cows, a horse can easily smack a rider when it's not happy with something.
  • According to How Come?: Planet Earth, a porcupine named Tubby used to play a game similar to Duck, Duck, Goose that involved slapping biologist Earle with his tail. However, he turned it so that only the spineless underside of the tail hit Earle's leg.

 
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Blanca Slams The Daoist

Blanca uses her snake tail to Daoist and his mount.

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