Abstract Dynamics of exploratory behaviour of rats and home base establishment is investigated. Time series of instantaneous speed of rats was computed from their position during exploration. The probability distribution function (PDF) of the speed obeys a power law distribution with exponents ranging from 2.1 to 2.32. The PDF of the recurrence time of large speed also exhibits a power law, P( τ) ∼ τ − β with β from 1.56 to 2.30. The power spectrum of the speed is in general agreement with the 1/ f spectrum reported earlier. These observations indicate that the acquisition of spatial information during exploration is self-organized with power law temporal correlations. This provides a possible explanation for the home base behaviour of rats during exploration. The exploratory behaviour of rats resembles other systems exhibiting self-organized criticality, e.g., earthquakes, solar flares etc.