The L type calcium channel agonist (+/-)Bay K 8644 has been reported to cause characteristic motor abnormalities in adult mice. The current study shows that administration of this drug can also cause the unusual phenomenon of self-injurious biting, particularly when given to young mice. Self-biting is provoked by injecting small quantities of (+/-)Bay K 8644 directly into the lateral ventricle of the brain, suggesting a central effect of the drug. Similar behaviors can be provoked by administration of another L type calcium channel agonist, FPL 64176. The self-biting provoked by (+/-)Bay K 8644 can be inhibited by pretreating the mice with dihydropyridine L type calcium channel antagonists such as nifedipine, nimodipine, or nitrendipine. However, self-biting is not inhibited by nondihydropyridine antagonists including diltiazem, flunarizine, or verapamil. The known actions of (+/-)Bay K 8644 as an L type calcium channel agonist, the reproduction of similar behavior with another L type calcium channel agonist, and the protection afforded by certain L type calcium channel antagonists implicate calcium channels in the mediation of the self-biting behavior. This phenomenon provides a model for studying the neurobiology of this unusual behavior.