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Basilisk and Cockatrice

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The Basilisk is a mythological creature which has shown up in many bestiaries and fantasy works. Described as being hatched from the egg of a snake (or a toad) by a cockerel, it is generally portrayed with a mix of reptilian/amphibian and bird features. This makes it similar in appearance to its cousin the Cockatrice, a dragon with birdlike features which is said to be hatched from a chicken egg (sometimes a rooster egg) by a snake.

Whether these are two distinct creatures or whether they’re interchangeable names for the same thing is something of a Cyclic Trope. Originally (i.e., in the Roman Empire and the early Middle Ages), the basilisk (starting with Pharsalia) was depicted as a horribly venomous snake, while the cockatrice, which first shows up in medieval England, was a chicken-reptile chimera that turned people to stone with its gaze. Eventually, the two creatures blended into a single myth for a number of reasons, and became synonymous terms for a single monster. In more recent times, some (although not all) works of fiction (possibly inspired by Dungeons & Dragons) have come to once again set them apart. The basilisk tends to be shown as a more distinctly reptilian snakelike or lizardlike animal, and usually maintains a deadly petrifying gaze. By contrast, the cockatrice tends to be portrayed as more distinctly avian, with a largely birdlike body bearing a snake tail, bird legs, and wings capable of flight.

Basilisks are reputed as the king of serpents (the name comes from the Greek for "king", "basileos"), and some bestiaries depicted them with crowns, if not with crown-like features such as a cock's comb. They are often extremely venomous and can cause instant death or petrification to anyone who looks directly at them, which makes them a Brown Note Being. Weasels are its natural enemy, not unlike the mongoose and cobra, and the crowing of a rooster has a fatal Brown Note effect on it. It is also said that one can kill it by turning a mirror on it, as it is not immune to its own gaze.

Basilisks and cockatrices, regardless of what deadly powers they are given or whether they are treated as the same thing or different creatures, tend to be used fairly consistently as inherently, incredibly deadly beings whose mere gaze or presence is enough to kill, and can probably turn you to stone one way or another, thus posing an unusually dangerous threat that needs to somehow be dealt with without being approached or even looked at.

Another thing these two creatures have in common is being fundamentally incompatible with "proper" life or ecology. They are typically depicted as killing every creature they encounter, and if the basilisk's mythological suite of powers is included this extends to killing off vegetation and poisoning the soil and water. The born-from-a-rooster's-egg origin further defines them as mistakes of nature, creatures that should not exist and that only come into being when something happens that in a proper course of events wouldn't and shouldn't — such as a rooster laying an egg, or a snake or toad brooding a bird's young.

See also Snakes Are Sinister, Feathered Fiend and Giant Flyer. Compare Feathered Serpent, another bird-snake hybrid monster. Not to be confused with The Great Serpent.

Not to be confused with Basilisk, which is In Name Only. The real life lizard called the basilisk was named for its resemblance to the mythical beast—with its comb-like crest and habit of running on two legs, it looks not unlike a medieval depiction of a cockatrice.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk: A cockatrice shows up after Griffith causes mythological creatures to become real, though it's quickly taken out by his Apostle soldiers (giving them a PR boost by rescuing the regular humans it was chasing).
  • Delicious in Dungeon:
    • An early chapter has the main party capturing a basilisk and roasting it. The basilisk appears as a giant chicken with poisonous spurs and a snake tail, although in a twist it's said that the snake is the real head. Its eggs (which later they made omelettes with) appear more like snake eggs rather than chicken eggs. Laius noted that the cockatrice is a close cousin of the basilisk and resides deeper in the dungeon.
    • In a later chapter they encountered a cockatrice, which looks like a cross between the earlier basilisk and an archaeopteryx - bigger, leaner, more aggressive, and with nasty claws. Also, getting bitten by the snake tail causes the victim to be petrified.
  • Karakuri Circus: Manga-only, a Basilisk is among the various artificial mythical creatures created by the evil Automata Doctor Lao and, alongside Unicorn, Gorgon and Cerberus, is one of the four considered too wild to be tamed. This Basilisk looks like a giant snake with a monstrous, skeletal head with a vaguely squarish shape, plenty of fangs and an extra round eye right in the front.
  • One Piece: A basilisk is one of the monsters that guards Level 2 of Impel Down. It's said to be the result of a chicken giving birth to a snake. While it doesn't seem to have any special powers known from most basilisk myths, it is still huge, fast, and man-eating.
  • Saint Seiya: one of the 108 Specters under Hades' service holds the Surplice of the Basilisk and can use the technique known as "Annihilation Flap" to blast away the enemy with a powerful gust of wind (with the added effect, as of Lost Canvas, of being extremely poisonous). Despite the name being Basilisk, the shape of the Surplice and the fact that it's called "Monstrous Bird" hint at the creature in question being a cockatrice.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Basilisks and cockatrices are separate creature types aligned with Green, the color of nature, with basilisks being more strongly tied to Green and also more common. They all have either the keyword deathtouch, meaning they instantly destroy any creature they deal damage to, or the ability to destroy any creature that they block or that blocks them, representing their deadly petrifying gaze. The most notable and flavorful by far is Sylvan Basilisk, which destroys all creatures that engage with it before the damage step, meaning that it will always win and survive any combat unless its opponents are indestructible.
    • Cockatrices are depicted as birds with snakelike tails and necks, although only the original cockatrice card resembles a chicken. They're also quite rare, as only three cockatrice cards have been created.
    • Basilisks are shown as many-legged lizards, sometimes with horns, although one resembles a snake with legs. While most are petrifiers in the usual way, the basilisk of Rath turn their victims into puddles of the plane's liquid flowstone. The ones native to Zendikar are also horribly poisonous in the bargain.
      ''"Petrifying gaze, deadly fangs, knifelike dorsal spines, venomous saliva ... Am I missing anything? ... Toxic bones? Seriously?" — Flavor Text for Daggerback Basilisk

    Fan Works 
  • Destiny Intertwined: Titan basilisks are immense serpents native to lakes and swamps. They can live for over 200 years, grow all the while — an elder specimen's head is around the size of a grown dragon's body — and are indiscriminate predators with a particular taste for dragons
  • Ice and Fire (Minecraft): Cockatrices are long-tailed chicken-like monsters found in savannahs; they will sometimes hatch from rotten eggs that are rarely laid by chickens, and will try to defend regular chickens from other creatures. They attack creatures that look at them directly by projecting a beam that nauseates targets and inflicts the wither status effect, and then move in to fight directly. If a player manages to endure a staring contest with one for long enough, which requires burning through a lot of regen and healing items, it will break its will and the monster will then serve the player. Their eyes can be crafted with wither bones to create a scepter that will inflict wither onto other mobs.
  • Past Sins: In "Everfree Discovery", Spike mentions that Twilight once got turned to stone by a cockatrice.
    "Everypony else is busy, especially after taking time to come and see me. Besides, I've been to the Everfree Forest before, Spike; I know how to keep myself out of trouble."
    "Says the pony that got turned to stone by a cockatrice," Spike pointed out.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In Andrew And The Alchemist by Barbara Ninde Byfield, basilisk blood is one of the components to create the Philosopher's Stone. It's revealed near the end of the book that the alchemist kept one of the basilisks he raised, which is now very old and spends most of its time hibernating in a dark corner of his cellar. The book doesn't give a physical description, since the only person who gets a good look at it is the villain, and he isn't in any condition afterward to describe it.
  • Book of Imaginary Beings: Borges notes how the basilisk (also called the cockatrice)'s appearance has changed over the centuries; Pliny had it as a snake with a crown-shaped mark on its forehead, but in the Middle Ages it turned into a four-legged rooster with thorny wings, yellow feathers, a crown and a serpent's tail tipped with either a hook or another rooster's head. It is always a horribly deadly creature, at whose passage plants wilt and birds fall dead from the sky, which poisons the water from which it drinks, and whose gaze kills, withers plants and splits rocks. It lives only in deserts, because any land it settles become such. Its only weaknesses are weasels, which are immune to its power and attack it on sight; roosters, whose crowing sends it running in fear; and mirrors, as seeing its own reflection will strike it dead. One myth places the basilisk among the many snakes born from Medusa's severed head.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Spine Tinglers: "The Sight of the Basilisk", a short story by Lois Tilton, depicts the basilisk as a white snake with a red crest on its head and fatal gaze, which was placed as an egg in an ancient tomb to protect against tomb robbers. It befriends a blind slave who is sent into the tomb, and leaves with him, to the doom of his captors.
  • Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: In the third novel, Rusty the werewolf operates a cockatrice-fighting ring for Unnatural Beastly Bloodsports buffs. His cockatrices' ability to petrify has been suppressed, so the gamblers watching the fights won't get Taken for Granite. He secretly keeps some full-strength cockatrices too, which turn out to be a useful (albeit very double-edged) weapon against the novel's villains.
  • The Darkangel Trilogy: Elverlon AKA "Eelbird" is referred to as a "cockatrice". She's a Giant Flyer with the copper-feathered head and wings of a bird-of-paradise (something of an odd choice, as those tend to be small birds whose showiest parts are their tailfeathers) and a forest-green snake body; she does not seem to be able to hurt enemies in any way by looking at them.
  • Dracopedia:
    • Basilisks are eight-legged, flightless dragons that mostly inhabit deserts. They can squirt a powerful neurotoxin from glands next to their eyes, which can induce total paralysis in most other animals, which has given rise to myths about their ability to petrify others with a glance. Their bite is also highly poisonous, and contains the same neurotoxin. Salamanders are a subgroup of basilisks with ten legs instead of eight, and which mostly live around volcanoes.
    • Cockatrices are entirely unrelated animals, and are instead crossbreeds of domestic chickens and amphipteres. They can't turn people to stone; the myth just got started as a result of their being very ugly.
    • Dracopedia: The Bestiary describes the Tarrasque, which it speculates to be in fact a gargantuan species of basilisk that somehow crossed the Mediterranean to southern France from the Sahara. Only one has ever been recorded, that being the one subdued by St. Martha, depicted here as an enormous six-legged, club-tailed turtle-like creature that slowly meanders through the landscape consuming everything in its path.
  • Dragon Rider: A basilisk appears as a sort of enormous, evil bird-like monster with a killing gaze. It’s never seen fully, and is killed when it’s forced to look at its own reflection in a mirror.
  • The Dream Eaters and Other Stories by Louise Searl features a basilisk in the titular novella (portrayed as a lizard-like creature), and a cockatrice in The Dragon's Claw. Both have the ability to kill with their gaze.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The basilisk is a fifty-foot snake that uses the school plumbing system to get around. It attacks several times, but the insta-death gaze apparently needs to be direct, or else the victim will merely be Petrified, which is reversible. Ghosts who see it get Petrified by default, since they're already dead. Miraculously, the victims in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets all manage to escape death this way: one saw it reflected in a puddle, one saw it through a camera lens, one was already a ghost, one saw it through the ghost's translucent form, and two saw it in a mirror. They can also be controlled by Parselmouths (people that can talk to snakes) such as Salazar Slytherin and Lord Voldemort.
    • Cockatrices are also mentioned a few times as a separate creature. We never see them or learn anything about them, other than that they are dangerous enough that one was responsible for suspending the Triwizard Tournament for a few centuries. Some translations accidentally refer to both creatures by the same name.
  • The Heroes of Olympus: Basilisks are among the monsters in Gaea's army that attacks Camp Jupiter in The Son of Neptune, appearing in much the same way they did in Roman myth. They look like short, stout snakes with a crest of white spikes on their heads resembling a crown, and are so poisonous that they kill and wither any plants they touch. Weasels are their mortal enemies, something that Frank exploits by turning into a weasel and giving chase. At least those in the battle were created by the giant Polybotes, who has living snakes braided into and constantly slithering out of his hair, and simply shook out some basilisks when he needed them.
  • "Imogen's Epic Day": When Imogen refuses to give Safira the Water of Life willingly, she summons an amphisbaena who holds Virginia and Rick hostage. It's described as a two-headed Feathered Serpent with a venom that can kill anyone almost instantly, Virginia describing it as a "two-headed snake-chicken monster."
  • InCryptid: Basilisks and cockatrices are closely related species of cryptids (real creatures unknown to science). Scientists who know of The Masquerade (intended to keep intelligent cryptid species safe), classify them as sibling species in the genus Procompsognathus. The primary difference between the two is that basilisks are feathered, while cockatrices are largely featherless. Both are about the size of chickens, and both have petrification powers which science has not yet been able to explain.
  • "Koko the Basilisk": A king is sent an immature basilisk as a gift by a neighbour king; he can't get rid of it without causing offence, and it becomes more of a hazard to its keepers as it grows. At one point the king consults a bestiary, only to find its entries only read "Basilisk: See Cockatrice" and "Cockatrice: See Basilisk".
  • The Laundry Files: Basilisks, cockatrices and gorgons are lizard, birds and humans, respectively, who have a rare form of cancer in their visual cortex. The cancer causes an opening to a parallel dimension, and the energy brought through transmutes the carbon atoms in whatever the sufferer looks at into silicon, giving the effect of petrification. The cancer's structure can also be emulated by modern computers, meaning that a firmware update can turn any mobile phone or CCTV camera into a highly destructive weapon.
  • Loyal Enemies: The heroes help a dwarven community which is being terrorized by a house-sized basilisk demanding to be given fifty virgins. Since basilisks don't actually grow that big and cannot speak, they become suspicious and Shelena and Veres set out to investigate disguised as virgin nuns. They discover a group of thugs hired by the villains, who pretend to be the basilisk by magically projecting the illusion of a giant one onto the road, while the real basilisk is held in a cage — it's about wolf-sized and can turn people into stone with its eyes, but that takes energy and the basilisk in question is in such a sorry state that it makes a dash for the nearest wood when released.
  • Ology Series: Both are mentioned in Dragonology and Monsterology as species of pseduodragons, a term used in the books for creatures related or similar to dragons but that aren't classified among them for whatever reason.
    • Basilisks are notable for three things: being incredibly deadly, having some form of shapeshifting ability, and these being the only concrete things anybody known about them, since people tend not to survive encounters with them.
    • Cockatrices are chicken-reptile hybrids with a deadly poisonous breath. Dragonology depicts them as essentially birdlike wyverns with high, spiked crests and tails that fork into three halfway down their lengths, while Monsterology shows them as more traditional chicken-like creatures with batlike wings and long, slender reptilian tails.
  • In Operation Chaos by Poul Anderson, basilisks are used as weapons during the War. It's mentioned in passing that, as a double whammy, any creature they turn to stone is dangerously radioactive as a side-effect of the physical process that converts carbon to silicon.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Basilisks are reptilian creatures which can reach the size of lions. Their blood is used by the Faceless Men to create a drug which can induce extreme rage on anyone with warm blood; reputedly, a mouse will attack a lion should they be fed a taste of the blood. They are native to the continent of Sothoryos, in area known as the Basilisk Point. Off its coast is a chain of islands called the Basilisk Isles, so named because there used to be many basilisks there.
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles: Cockatrices appear in the tie-in field guide as creatures resembling chickens mixed with frilled lizards, with a gaze that turns creatures to stone and extremely poisonous saliva. The book also makes mention of "false cockatrices", which, similarly to how many animals imitate more dangerous creatures as defense from predators, resemble cockatrices but lack the venom and petrifying gaze.
  • The Talking Parcel, by Gerald Durrell, is about cockatrices invading the land of Mythologia, and the only way to stop them is for a group of kids from our world to recruit Duke Wensleydale's weasels by giving them rue. A "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer cites the bestiaries where the stuff about rue and weasels comes from (although in the bestiaries, rue makes them invulnerable, at least to cockatrices; in the book it just makes them brave.)
  • The Witcher: These are two separate creatures. A basilisk is a venomous reptile with an extremely potent neurotoxin, while a cockatrice is an avian-reptile hybrid (the description brings to mind an evolutionary missing link) that hunts by stalking its prey and attacking a weak point. Basilisk leather and cockatrice feathers are considered prime quality by, respectively, fashionistas and scribes. Also, both can be killed with a mirror — if hit square in the head with it, of course.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Merlin (2008) has a cockatrice that attacks Arthur and is killed by him to save Nimueh. Whether she was actually controlling it is unknown. The cockatrice looks more like a snake with legs and two sails on its back than the chicken-headed depiction, though.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger had Dora Cockatrice, though he was only a cockatrice in appearance. His power was the giant pair of scissors he carried, which allowed him to cut open portals in time and space. Adpated for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Season 1 as Chunky Chicken.
    • Mahou Sentai Magiranger: One Monster of the Week was Hades Beast Cockatrice. He was able to zap people with a beam that turned them to stone that he would then eat, which he does to Urara. However, the Magirangers defeat him by using a mirror to reflect his gaze back at him. He appeared in Power Rangers Mystic Force as Clawbster and acted much the same.
  • The Witcher (2019) episode "Rare Species" begins with Geralt killing a basilisk, although we only see its severed head. The season two finale "Family" has two very different looking ones (because they're summoned from Another Dimension) that attack the witchers at Kaer Morhen.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The basilisk's first appearance in Western tradition is in the writings of the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, who described it as a twelve-inch-long serpent with a white, crown-shaped spot on its head, capable of killing with its gaze. Its poison is so strong that it shatters stones and kills vegetation it slithers by or breathes on, birds fall dead from the sky at its passage and waters that it drinks from become fouled and poisoned. He was also the first to record the story of how, when a knight killed a basilisk with a spear, its poisonous blood ran up his spear and killed him and its horse. The only way to reliably kill it would be to set a weasel on it, as its smell was fatal to basilisks. The part about it being hatched by a cock’s egg brooded by a toad or snake first shows up early in the Middle Ages. At some point in its mythological development, the basilisk transformed into a eight-legged lizard with a rooster's head that holds its tail above its body (see here). It is likely the result of when early medieval writers somehow confused the creature with scorpions. This version inspired the popular modern depiction in fantasy games of basilisk as multi-legged reptiles.
  • The cockatrice myth originated in England in the Middle Ages, and the creature was usually described as a winged chimera combing a chicken with a serpent or a dragon, with the ability to kill or petrify creatures with its gaze and/or touch. Its origin was specifically defined as coming about when an aging rooster, approaching the end of his life, lays an egg without a shell or some other integral component. This is then brooded by a snake or toad and out comes a cockatrice. Basilisks and cockatrices were originally separate creatures until one was mistranslated as the other in a 14th-century book, leading to the two names being considered largely synonymous afterwards
  • The Basilisk of Vienna is said to have lived in a well, poisoning the city's water and air with its sulfur gas. Everyone who tried to fight it was turned to stone by just looking at it or dropped dead when hearing its scream. That was until a baker's apprentice whose love got sick from the poisoned gas decided to face it. He climbed down the well with his eyes closed and ears sealed with wax, only holding a mirror. When he showed the basilisk its own face in the mirror it turned to stone itself, thus killing it.
  • A Polish legend very similar to the Viennese says that a basilisk (Polish: bazyliszek, although it's usually described as rather avian-looking) once lived in the maze of cellars under one of Polish cities, its gaze turning into stone any poor fella who dared to go look for it. Like in Vienna, it was defeated with a mirror.
  • There is a fairly fascinating cryptid from Africa known as the Crowing Crested Cobra that is a near perfect representation of this concept — it's a cobra with the crest and wattles of a chicken and who makes a sound similar to a rooster crowing. Its gaze is not deadly, but it can shoot a lethal venom from its mouth (something that some real cobras are capable of doing).
  • The Basilisco Chilote from the folklore of the Chiloé Archipielago on Chile is a serpent with the crest of a rooster that is hatched from an egg incubated by a rooster. It has no deadly gaze, but is said to dwell beneath houses and feed on the phlegm and saliva of the people inhabiting them, eventually killing them of dehydratation. To kill it, one must destroy the egg as soon as it is laid and kill the chicken which laid it so that no other eggs like it are hatched. If hatched, the only way to destroy a Basilisco chilote is burning down the house where it lives. This being is actually a Composite Character of the classic basilisk, the cockatrice and the Colo Colo, an arguably stranger creature from Mapuche mythology said to be either a rat-like or half rat, half serpent monster which also inhabits houses undetected and devours the saliva of those living on the house. It is also claimed to be born from an egg laid by a snake and hatched by a rooster.
  • The gye-long of Korean mythology is often known as the Korean Cockatrice, much in the same way the Kirin is often called an Asian unicorn. Like its western counterpart, its depicted as a dragon-like creature with a rooster's head (although its body is that of a traditional Asian dragon), but unlike its western counterpart, it's considered a benevolent creature, pulling the chariots of legendary figures. One legend even claims the founding princess of the historic Silla kingdom even hatched from the egg of one, and the modern city of Gyeryong gets its name from the creature.
  • A few verses in the King James Version of The Bible mention cockatrices, although this is most likely a "Blind Idiot" Translation of an ancient Hebrew word that was just a generic term for any venomous snake.

  • Cool Kids Table: In Small Magic, the party runs afoul of a cockatrice after accidentally hunting and eating some of her chicks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dark Eye: Basilisks, also called toadspawn, are large serpents with metallic crests on their heads. They are unnatural aberrations and intensely deadly — they can petrify any creature they look upon, merely touching one's dead body is a death sentence, and their passage kills plants, mildews soil, and turns water to polluted filth and air to toxic gas; any area they pass through becomes tainted and unlivable. They do not need to drink, eat or sleep — they are sustained purely by magic — and legend says that only one is born every 700 years. They are very greatly feared, and the title of Basilisk Slayer is coveted and respected.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The basilisk is a large, eight-legged lizard-like creature. Meeting its gaze causes the viewer to turn to stone. Basilisks come in a few variants, such as the venom-eye basilisk (which poisons with its gaze), the greater basilisk (which is bigger and kills with its gaze), and the dracolisk (which is the result of crossbreeding one with a black dragon, giving it an acid Breath Weapon).
    • The cockatrice is a chicken-like creature with batlike wings and a snakelike tail: being hit by its beak causes petrifaction. Older art shows cockatrices as otherwise normal chickens with bat wings and snakelike tails, but later editions depict them as much more repulsive, emaciated and largely featherless beasts. There are also pyrolisks, red-featured cockatrices whose gaze sets their victims on fire.
    • Grey dragons have a loose connection these creatures, having gained their petrifying attacks when an ancestral clutch of fang dragons was brooded by a basilisk in a nest lined with cockatrice feathers.
  • Exalted:
    • Desert basiliscs — that being the official spelling — are Wyld-twisted creatures found in the deep deserts of the South. They resemble serpents with the heads, wings and legs of peacocks (although the official art gives them the legs and wings of insects instead) and produce coronas of flame from a gem set in their foreheads. They hate all other creatures and try to kill anything they meet; this including other basiliscs, and these creatures always fight to the death when they meet — how they breed is something of a mystery.
    • Cockatrices, creatures resembling iguanas with batlike wings and the heads of chickens, hatch from chicken eggs without yolks; as such eggs cannot naturally produce anything, this can only occur in areas tainted by the Wyld. Their Eyes of Flame special ability allows them to paralyze anything they lock gazes with and burn it to death from the inside out. Their breath, bite and touch are all highly toxic. Cockatrices kill indiscriminately — a newborn cockatrice will typically kill its mother after hatching, then the rest of the flock, then the rest of the village, and then set off on a long path of ruin. The only reliable ways to kill them are by using mirrors, which will trick the beast into thinking it's met a rival and thus into staring itself to death, and iron, to which their Wyld-born nature makes them vulnerable.
  • Godforsaken: A basilisk is a magical kind of serpent that resembles a cobra, has a series of scales on its head like a crown, crawls upright instead of slithering on its belly, and can turn enemies into stone. A basilisk's bite is venomous, and they constantly exhale a powerful toxic gas; as a result, their lairs become surrounded by dead vegetation, blackened earth and pitted stone. Their toxin is so potent that even creatures that are normally immune to poison can be harmed by it; only weasels are immune to it, while other mustelids have limited resistance. Basilisks feed on other snakes, and the sudden flight of snakes from an area is a sign that a basilisk has taken up residence.
  • GURPS Fantasy Bestiary includes basilisks and cockatrices as separate creatures, both of which are incredibly deadly to simply be around or even look at.
    • Basilisks are hideous snakes with bony crests on their heads. They can kill anyone they look at or who looks at them, making mirrors or magic the only safe ways of observing them — they can even kill anyone attempting telepathic contact with them. They turn land into desert with the presence alone, and fear nothing but weasels, which are immune to their powers.
    • Cockatrices resemble roosters with scaly hides and serpent tails. They are the most poisonous animals alive, and simply looking at them or being in their presence can inflict other beings with their toxins — the only upside to this is that it's easy to tell when a cockatrice is coming without having to look at them, as plants within ten yards of them all wilt.
  • Ironsworn: The Flooded Lands are home to the beastly basilisks. Mercifully, they don't have the petrification powers that basilisk in other settings have, but they do have a "mesmerizing gaze." And they eat people.
  • Pathfinder: Cockatrices and basilisks appear much as they do in D&D; basilisks petrify with their gaze, while cockatrices cause local petrification by biting or pecking victims. Both species have a natural enmity with ferrets and weasels, which are immune to their powers and often plunder their nests, and cockatrices are further set against roosters, which they hate and fear for unclear reasons. Old and powerful cockatrices also tend to have petrified extremities (such as their beaks, claws and spikes), whether as a result of some natural process, absorption of the minerals they eat from the statues of fallen foes or a side-effect of their constant grooming accidentally petrifying parts of themselves.
  • In Rifts, both species appear as two of the weaker (and more ill-tempered) species of dragon. The basilisk is more serpentine, and can petrify its victims with Eye Beams. The cockatrice has a bird-like beak and feathers and a deadly noxious breath attack, and can wither nearby plants with its mere presence.
  • Shadowrun: Basilisks are black-and-yellow Awakened Komodo dragons with petrifying gazes, and are extremely popular as guard animals. Cockatrices are long-legged, three-meter-long Awakened chickens a paralyzing bite.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • Basilisks are six-legged, brightly colored lizards so poisonous that vegetation withers and dies at their mere presence, and which can swiftly turn a fertile land into a barren waste; this is represented in-game by their Aura of Vitriol rule, which causes damage to anything in their vicinity that fails a defensive roll. They can concentrate their poisonous aura in their gaze, causing creatures they fix their sight upon to blister, sicken, and eventually turn into steaming piles of decayed meat. They originated in the Chaos wastes and migrated south over time, although their preference for deserts and volcanic caves makes them rare in most human nations. Basilisk bones can be used to create blades that retain their former owners' toxic natures, making exceptionally deadly weapons that can prove equally dangerous to their wielders.
    • Cockatrices are cowardly but deadly Chaos-tainted creatures resembling monstrous avians with tooth-lined jaws, snakelike tails and batlike wings. They are among the favorite quarries of Bretonnian knights, although cockatrice hunts are complicated by the creatures' ability to petrify with a glance and the fact that some of them possess poisonous claws or acidic vomit as additional weapons.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Wonders: Basilisks appear in the Lizard Man army in Age of Wonders and as unaligned, summonable monster units in Age of Wonders 2. In both cases they're gigantic lizards (four-legged in the first game, six-legged in the second) with poisonous attacks, poison immunity and the Doom Gaze attack.
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: The Aberration DLC introduces the Basilisk as an utterly massive burrowing snake with a dragon-like head and crests that spits large amounts of venom and can only be tamed by being fed fertilized Rock Drake eggs.
  • Balacera Brothers: The second boss is a green-feathered cockatrice which attacks the players while they're atop a train, which they'll need to take out in a Traintop Battle. Said cocatrice can breathe fire has a Prehensile Tail which it will use to Tail Slap the brothers to their deaths.
  • Boktai: Cockatrices resembling giant chickens with snake tails. Due to their signature petrifying eye beam, they are usually seem serving Gorgeous Gorgon Carmilla and are summoned en masse during her boss battle.
  • Dark Souls: Basilisks are common monsters, who are, however, more generally reptilian or amphibian than strictly serpentine in appearance. Basically, they look like Labrador-sized short-tailed lizards/frogs with giant eyes (even though those aren't really eyes). They do, however, share the most important attribute with classical basilisks — turning people into stone. Thankfully, petrification occurs not through their stare, but through giant clouds of poisonous gas they exhale when attacked.
  • Digimon: Kokatorimon, a cockatrice Digimon complete with the usual stone-turning glare. It also has a Palette Swap called Akatorimon.
  • Disgaea: The Cockatrice and Basilisk (called "Basilicrow") appear as monsters of the "Roc" class in the second, third, and fourth games. They appear as fat, giant chickens with a snake as a tail, and are in the same class of monsters. Their most distinctive ability is disabling skills for any enemies standing right next to them.
  • Dragon City:
    • The Basilisk Dragon is a purely reptilian creature said to descend from the Basilisk of legend.
    • The Chicken Dragon, with its reptilian wings, claws and tail, strong resembles common depictions of cockatrices.
  • Dragon's Dogma: Cockatrices are griffin-like beasts with the hindquarters of lions and the forequarters of black roosters, and breathe out clouds of petrifying gas.
  • Elden Ring keeps the basilisks from Dark Souls, but slightly alters their design to more closely resemble Godwin, Prince of Death. They keep their ability to inflict the instant death status effect, which in this game is called "Death Blight" and has a more plant/fungal feel to it.
  • EverQuest II features basilisks and cockatrices as types of monsters.
    • Basilisks are often depicted as large 6-legged reptiles. Some of them are able to inflict a long-lasting stun status to represent petrification.
    • Cockatrices are large birdlike creatures that look almost completely identical to the depiction shown on the page's image. Wild cockatrices found on the continent of Kunark are named after their ability to petrify their prey just by looking at them. Stonebeak, Stoneleer, Stoneglint, Stonepeep, Stonegazer, etc. There are also some tamer species incapable of petrifying people that are farm-raised not unlike an osterich or a chicken.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Cockatrices are recurring enemies in the Nintendo-era Final Fantasies. Small enough to have nine of them in one encounter if you're terribly unlucky, and capable of leaving your party members Taken for Granite. The cockatrice is the bane of an unprepared party or a challenge gamer.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Cockatrices are giant chickens the size of cassowarys who can cause petrification with their physical attacks or with the Break spell. They are common encounters in the forests of Galbadia, typically appearing with two Fungar monsters. Thankfully, as petrification in this game is on a 20 second timer and they are not particularly hard hitting enemies, encountering them is not cause for much concern.
    • Final Fantasy X's basilisks are huge snakes with arms who can induce Petrification on the party. Running into them is often the player's first experience with the Non-Standard Game Over when all active characters are petrified.
    • Final Fantasy XV: Both the Basilisk and Cockatrice are encounterable enemies by the Vesperpool area of the Cleigne region. They are depicted as giant chickens with draconic tails, and both monsters are different sexes of the same species. The Cockatrice is the male counterpart and has rooster-like features, such as a more pronounced comb and sickle feathers on its tail. It is also encountered at a higher level than the Basilisk, its female counterpart. Both male and female chicks are collectively called Chickatrice. Apart from physical damage, they spit balls of poison into the air that can both poison and confuse your characters.
  • For the King: Cockatrices are introduced in the Lost Civilization DLC as one of several creatures with the new Petrification attack, and featured in the DLC's story mode. They're depicted as large monstrous cockerels (the story begins with a character encountering a juvenile cockatrice and mistaking it for a particularly ornery chicken). A fully grown cockatrice that appears near the end of the story has additional dragon-y features including horns and a long spiky tail.
  • God of War: Chains of Olympus: Kratos has to defeat an invading Persian king's army, which includes the king's pet basilisk. In terms of appearance and abilities, it doesn't have much in common with the mythical basilisk. It basically looks like a massive lizard with winged front legs(but it can't fly), it breathes fire, and it can't kill with its eyes. Kratos, after putting out one of its eyes by pulling down a spiked column on it, dispatched the basilisk by pulling its jaws shut when it's building up a fireball, causing it to break its own jaws from the explosive backfire.
  • Magic and Mayhem: Basilisks, appearing as oversized featherless chickens with reptilian features, are some of the first monsters available. They possess poisonous bites, but are easily killed, making them more effective in greater numbers.
  • Magic Shop: The first Grand Wizard who's invited to the shop is the basilisk. He destroys rocks on the game board with his sight.
  • Mega Man Zero: Popla Cocapetri in Mega Man Zero 4 is based off one and resembles a chicken robot with a serpent's tail, can lay eggs that hatch into minions, and can "petrify" robotic opponents via hacking. One of his abilities fires out a cloud of data that temporarily "petrifies" Zero if it hits, and Zero can learn a similar ability that paralyzes enemies after beating him.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: Basilisk is the code name for the eponymous Peace Walker and it has multiple meanings. First and foremost, it's name is "King of Snakes" referencing the protagonist's name Snake. Second, it refers to the real life animal that can run on water. Peace Walker is operated by the Reptile Pod that controls its basic motor functions based off an outdated scientific concept called the "triune brain". Finally, it has an attack where it shoots a laser at its target hypnotizing them which references the mythological basilisks ability to petrify its victims.
  • NetHack:
    • Cockatrices appear in the games. If you hear the cockatrice's hiss or are touched by a living cockatrice there's a chance that you'll slowing start turning to stone; this can be cancelled by eating a lizard corpse or eating/drinking something acid. Touching a cockatrice (living or dead) with your bare skin will instantly turn you to stone. Gloved characters can take advantage of this by picking up a cockatrice corpse and using it to bash monsters. But keep in mind that gloved monsters can also pick up a cockatrice corpse and use it against you. And if you trip while wielding a cockatrice corpse, you will accidentally touch it and die of stoning. The Nethack wiki lists several dozen ways to die involving cocktrices, only a few involving a living monster.
    • The variant Slash'EM also has the basilisk, which is basically the same as the cockatrice, except that it doesn't hiss and its corpse it too big to use as an Improvised Weapon.
  • Runescape: Two different versions exist: the basilisk, which is a large multi legged lizard-like creature, and the cockatrice, which has traits from both chickens and snakes. Alternate versions of the cockatrice also exist like the chocatrice. All, though, have a deadly gaze. Anyone seeing a basilisk indirectly, as in a reflection or through something transparent, is petrified rather than killed, which can be cured with the right potion.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Both Cockatrice and Basilisk are among the many demons in the franchise. Both are separate monsters, but when it appears the Cockatrice's in-game description often mention that it is related to the Basilisk.
  • Terraria: There is a type of enemy called the Basilisk in the game, but they are large ceratopsian lizards that attack by charging at you, instead of the traditional serpentine creatures. Basilisks in Terraria also cannot petrify anything.
  • Total War: Warhammer: The Shadows of Change adds the Cockatrice, a Chaos-warped giant bird with a long claw-tipped tail whose "petrifying gaze" ability passively reduces the melee attack and speed of nearby enemies by 10%, to the Tzeentch roster. When it dies, the cockatrice's powers turn against itself and it falls to earth and shrivels into an inert stone statue.
  • The Witcher: Basilisks and cockatrices are relatives of wyverns. Notably, a cockatrice is the target in the only storyline-relevant trophy hunt in the first game. These basilisks and cockatrices lack the ability to petrify enemies, an ability the codex states is inaccurate folklore.
  • World of Warcraft: Basilisks are gigantic, six-legged, armored lizards who have an appetite for crystal gems and can temporarily petrify their opponents. Their aquatic equivalents, the Crocolisks, are simply six-legged crocodiles with no magical powers. Meanwhile, the giant flightless birds that Blood Elves ride were originally planned to be called Cockatrices, but they got renamed to Hawkstriders before the game was released. The only in-game mention of Cockatrices is the "Pygmy Cockatrice", a regular chicken that runs around in Darkmoon Faire.
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: The English translation refers to the Zora enemies, quadrupedal fish people who spit fireballs, as Basilisks.


    Web Original 
  • Beast Fables: Cockatrices and basilisks are types of wyvern that show a greater proportion of saurian traits than normal. Cockatrices, which mostly occur among ground birds such as poultry, have sickle claws and toothed beaks in addition to the wing claws, stronger legs, and long tails common to all wyverns, and tend to be more carnivorous than their base species. Basilisks, which arise among large, ground-running birds such as ratites and seriemas, are more reptilian still, and tend to have fully reptilian heads, necks, and tails; some are venomous as well, and are among the largest wyverns when in hybrid form — an ostrich basilisk can tower over an elephant.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-1013 (Cockatrice) is a long-tailed reptile with the head of a chicken and a frill around its neck. Eye contact with it induces total paralysis, at which point it bites the victim, which causes their outer tissues (except for the mucous membranes around the mouth and other orifices) to completely calcify, leaving the victim trapped in a three-centimeter thick shell of marble-like stone. Once this has happened, SCP-1013 either pecks a hole though the other shell or wriggles in through an orifice and proceeds to eat its helpless victim alive.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Some believe that the myths were based on real life cobras with the comb being the hood, the rivalry with weasels actually referring to mongooses, and the deadly gaze inspired by how some species can spit venom (often aiming for the eyes to blind enemies).
  • As mentioned above, the real life basilisk is just a small South American lizard that has very little in common with the mythical monster, though it can Walk on Water instead.
  • Some small dinosaurs fit the imagery of this concept, being creatures with features of both birds and reptiles—most notably, we have Velociraptor and Yi qi (the latter fits even better, as it may have had batlike wings). The Ambopteryx, discovered in the late 2010s, also had bat-like wings.
  • One odd medieval culinary practice was the construction of "cockentrices" - stitched-together centerpiece roasts combining the head and breast of a capon with the hindquarters of a suckling pig or lamb (or the head of a suckling pig or lamb with the legs of a capon—medieval chefs weren’t picky) as entertaining roasts for important banquets. Dinner guests would enjoy watching other diners who weren't in on the gag gawk in bafflement at the Mix-and-Match Critter, wondering if an actual cockatrice was being served.


Video Example(s):


The Basilisk-Cockatrice

Laios goes on and on with his admiration to face a Basilisk-Cockatrice in the dungeon. Yes, he's like that.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / AdmiringTheAbomination

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