Mythical Creatures: Amphisbaena

Hello Everyone,

Interesting how so many of the mythical creatures can seem very much alike but share completely different origins like with the Amphisbaena. A creature that is typically a specialized dragon, or at least some type or reptilian creature with two heads. Although there is some tales of other forms of Amphisbaena we are going to focus a little more on the reptilian or snake-like version.

Amphisbaena...a dragon?


Known mostly to inhabit the Libyan deserts, the Amphisbaena was a poisonous foe of anyone who happened to cross its path. The stories seem to start with Greek mythology. A traveler speaking about mysterious beasts with venom and of course there name “amphisbaena” two ways. In this case its head.

The Amphisbaena was fast. Moving with stealth and cunning speeds it would confuse its enemy buy making you think there was only one set of eyes watching you. Once again, Pliny the Elder provides a description on the beast explain the two heads and the venom that it could produce.

According to Lucan, a poet during the reign of Julius Caesar, the Amphisbaena attacked the military men led by Cato. He stated that they were beasts that came from the blood once spilled from the head of Medusa.


Some say it could survive in any climate. Some going far enough to say that it was warm blooded. Some related it closer to the dragon, as mentioned. Giving it wings and armored scales. Some say when the beast was still alive that pregnant women who smelt its toxic breath could abort children if they accidently came upon one. But not all of its traits were bad. One man deemed that by taking the creature and wrapping it around a good stick you could cure your common cold.

As the folklore and mythical legends of the Amphisbaena died off the creature ultimately won the battle for they exist today. Only as something different. Worm-Lizards today, in the tropics (sub-tropics) have received the name. They are small limbless creatures that burrow in the earth. Did the tale die out or perhaps are the ancient Amphisbaena of legend just lying dormant, waiting…


Not very large, typically around 3-4 feet in length. Born from the blood of Medusa’s head as Perseus carried her head across the Libyan Desert where they most often reside. Also meaning that the lifespan may be immortal or close to.  Can handle the cold but known to the desert. Has two venomous heads and can regenerate its body when cut in two.  Typically are reptilian in nature, snake, lizard, etc. with the second head where the tail should be and limbs to carry the body (sometimes wings). Although the standard is set as reptilian there is reports of other creatures taking on the two headed feature.

The Amphisbaena by Lepidodendron

Thanks for Reading,

Joshua Crane Dowidat





Allan, T. (2008). The Mythic Bestiary. London: Duncan Baird Publishers

Images Retrieved from:

Friday Five… Greek Monsters

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