Overview and Meaning
Tail rattling is a territorial behavior that occurs in response to a threat. In the wild this is one of the most commonly observed territorial behaviors, however, like most territorial behaviors it is rarely observed in standard laboratory housing conditions.
This behavior is characterized by the fast waving movements of the tail. When held against hard objects a rattling noise can often be heard. This behavior can often be observed simultaneously with other movements and postures.
Agonistic interactions can occur in the context of territorial behavior, and/or dominance behavior. Territorial behavior and dominance behavior differ in both the context that they occur, the resources under competition, and the threat behavior that initiates the interaction.