Send to

Choose Destination
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2005;29(8):1181-91. Epub 2005 Aug 8.

Die hard: a blend of freezing and fleeing as a dynamic defense--implications for the control of defensive behavior.

Author information

Department of Zoology, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69 978, Israel.


Freezing, fleeing or fighting back are general defensive responses in many taxa. These defenses are mutually exclusive, since a prey cannot simultaneously flee and fight, or freeze and flee. Each of these defenses by itself is rudimentary and probably cannot provide a completely effective means to elude predation. Freezing is efficient only if employed before the prey is spotted by the predator, otherwise the prey becomes a stationary, easy to catch target. In fleeing, the prey can move directly away and maximize its distance from the predator, move toward the predator to confine it to a single clashing point, or dodge sideways to evade the attack. Prey can also run in a straight path that is efficient against slow or distant predators, or in a zigzag path that is efficient when a raptor is close or fast. In all, freezing and fleeing constitute together a complex and flexible defensive response, and are probably controlled by different motor systems that are inter-connected to allow fast switching between these behaviors, as required for an effective and versatile response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center