|Images of basilisks|
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 29
Despite its reputation as the king of serpents, the basilisk is not a serpent but rather a foul-tempered, eight-legged lizard. The basilisk's two most unusual features are its two extra pairs of legs, and its eyes which glow with an unnatural green fire. The basilisk's appearance varies by region, and their colouration varies to blend in with their environment; for instance, desert-dwelling basilisks tend to be brown or tan, while forest- and swamp-dwelling basilisks tend to be a shade of green. There are also other small variations, like the size of the spiky frill that runs down a basilisk's back or the small horns that protrude from some basilisks' heads. Basilisks are generally around twelve to fifteen feet in length (about the same length as crocodiles), and most weigh around 300 pounds.
Habitat and ecology
Basilisks can adapt to all sorts of terrain, from the burning depths of the Cinderlands to the rain-drenched swamps of the Sodden Lands. Wherever they settle, basilisks have similar taste in lairs; they seek out caves, burrows, or any other sort of well-sheltered area. These lairs are easy to recognise as they are often surrounded by the petrified remains of creatures they have yet to eat. Basilisk are normally solitary creatures, but they do come together to mate. Sometimes in particularly dangerous areas, they form small groups for mutual protection.
No one is quite sure of the basilisk's origins. Rustic folk tales claim that, like the cockatrice, basilisks hatched from snake eggs incubated by roosters. There is little real support for this claim, and their interactions with their environment makes it seem like they might be natural creatures. Like any other predator, a basilisk spends much of its time looking for food. Its hunting technique is unique: it uses its camouflage to get close to its prey, then uses its gaze to turn them to stone. Basilisks gain their sustenance from devouring the nutrients from those they turn to stone. This process can be slow and ineffective, which makes basilisks generally lazy and sluggish.