A sort of serpent hatched from the egg of a cock. The cockatrice, aka the basilisk, had a bad eye, and its glance was fatal. Many infidels deny this creature's existence, but Semprello Aurator saw and handled one that had been blinded by lightning as a punishment for having fatally gazed on a lady of rank whom Jupiter loved.

Juno afterward restored the reptile's sight and hid it in a cave. In recent times, however, the cocks have stopped laying.

There are two species of the creature. The first burn everything they approach, the second can kill every living thing with a mere glance. Both species are so dreadful that their breath wilts vegetation and shatters stones. It was even believed that if a man on horseback should try to kill it with a spear, the power of the poison conducted through the weapon would not only kill the rider, but the horse as well. The only way to kill a basilisk is by holding a mirror in front of its eye.

Within Nethack 3.3.1, there are several varieties of cockatrice (all show up as a 'c'). There is the 'chickatrice', the classic 'cockatrice' and the pyrolisk. All of them are visible in infra-vision and naturally hostile. The chickatrice is a 'tiny' monster, while the cockatrice and pyrolisk are 'small' monsters.

There is also a special type of 'zoo' that can be created called a Cockatrice Nest (other special zoos are courts, barracks, morgues, beehives, leprechaun halls, and ant holes). These will only be created at depth greater than 16 and have a 1 in 8 chance of being created. Upon entering you will get the message "You enter a disgusting nest!". There is no special level message.

From this point on, when revering to the 'cockatrice' I am referring to the cockatrice and chickatrice only - not the pyrolisk.

The cockatrice has attacks that may stone you - and not in the psychedelic way (use violet fungus for that or exploding black lights for that). If you hear a hiss, there is a 10% chance that the stoning will begin (and not in the martyr way). However, if it is a new moon, and for some reason you are not carrying a lizard corpse, then the stoning chance is 100%.

So, after a brutal combat with long range weapons, you've killed a cockatrice and there is a corpse. What can you do with it?

Eat it
Eating a cockatrice corpse is instant death. Most things related to cockatrices are instant death. Do not eat the eggs of a cockatrice - that is certain death.
Pick it up/Kick it
Touching a cockatrice corpse with a 'bare' part of the body will kill you. If you aren't wearing gloves and touch one, you die. If you aren't wearing boots and you kick one, you die. If you are blind and not wearing gloves and fumble around in the dark and find one, you die. I hope you can see a trend here.
Wield it as a weapon
However, if you are wearing gloves, you can pick up a cockatrice corpse and it is now part of your inventory as a '%' (food). It is still not recommended to eat it. You can wield it as a weapon.

<Insert picture of mighty barbarian running around with a dead chicken in his hands here>

What happens when you hit a monster with a cockatrice corpse? Same thing that happens to you when you touch one yourself - they get turned to stone. This often results in a statue of the monster sitting around, but if the monster is a golem it will become a stone golem. Yes, the DevTeam thinks of everything.

This technique also works with cockatrice eggs. However, remember that you penalize luck if you were the mother. These have been nicknamed 'stoning grenades'.

Realize the greatest danger of walking around with cockatrice corpses is fumbling. Fall in a pit? Set off a landmine? Find a pair of cursed gloves cheap? Fall down the stairs? Well, you're a statue now too - and there's no time to eat a lizard corpse.

The statues that are created from stoning a monster (or player) will only contain the items in that being's inventory and never a spell book (unless one was carried).

Cock"a*trice [OF. cocatrice crocodile, F. cocatrix, cocatrice. The word is a corruption from the same source as E. crocodile, but was confused with cock the bird, F. coq, whence arose the fable that the animal was produced from a cock's egg. See Crocodile.]


A fabulous serpent whose breath and look were said to be fatal. See Basilisk.

That bare vowel, I, shall poison more Than the death-darting eye of cockatrice. Shak.

2. Her.

A representation of this serpent. It has the head, wings, and legs of a bird, and tail of a serpent.

3. Script.

A venomous serpent which which cannot now be identified.

The weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's [Rev. Ver. basilisk's] den. Is. xi. 8.


Any venomous or deadly thing.

This little cockatrice of a king. Bacon.


© Webster 1913.

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