Growing male rats were exposed to cadmium (Cd, 100 micrograms/kg, ip) for 51 days and the effect on the different components of locomotor behaviour was assessed on days 38, 46 and 51 of Cd exposure. Significant decrease in distance travelled, stereotypic time and movements, ambulatory time and vertical movements were observed in Cd-exposed rats, whereas the time of rest was increased. The number of entries into the inner as well as the outer squares and the total time spent in the inner squares of the floor area were significantly reduced. Results indicate that Cd exposure results in a general depression in all aspects of motor behaviour leading to decrease in gross locomotor activity. The involvement of an exaggerated emotional reactivity in the behavioural expression of the Cd-treated animals is also emphasized.