Originating in Africa
(according to some, though the name is clearly Greek, don't blame me folks, I just report this nonsense), this venomous
serpent-like creature had two heads - one where it should be, and one for its tail. The front head would hold the tail head in its mouth, creating a circle that allowed it to roll
It was said to be a very evil
creature. Some pictures of this creature
depict it as having feet
, others just as a snake
. It is usually portrayed as having a scaly body, feathered wings, and, if it does have feet, the feet of a rooster
Stories say when the female amphisbaena was looking over her eggs, she could keep one head awake at all times. Today, there is a lizard named after this dragon which has markings on its tail that look like a head. When threatened, it lifts its tail and scatters back and forth to confuse its attacker.
Our old pal John Milton, in Paradise Lost, describing the transformation of the devils into serpents in hell:
. . .dreadful was the din
Of hissing through the Hall, thick swarming now
With complicated monsters, head and tail,
Scorpion and Asp, and Amphisbaena dire. . .