The Difference Between the Basilisk and the Cockatrice

Hey there! Have you ever heard of the Basilisk and the Cockatrice? These two mythical creatures have some similarities, but they also have some key differences. In a video by Mythology & Fiction Explained, they explore the differences between the two creatures and discuss why the myth of the Cockatrice has faded. If you’re into mythology and folklore, this video is definitely worth checking out! You’ll learn about the physical appearances of the Basilisk and the Cockatrice, their origins, and their abilities to turn people into stone and breathe fire. It’s fascinating to see how the Cockatrice has become more of a medieval legend while the Basilisk has become a staple in works of fantasy. So, if you want to delve deeper into these captivating creatures, make sure to watch the video and leave a thumbs up to support the channel’s growth!

Physical Appearance

Depictions of the cockatrice

The cockatrice, often depicted as a serpent with a rooster’s head, is a fascinating creature that has captured the imaginations of many throughout history. Its body is typically covered in scales, and its wings are reminiscent of a bat’s, allowing it to fly swiftly through the air. The rooster’s head is adorned with a fearsome crest and a sharp beak, giving the cockatrice a truly formidable appearance. Its eyes are often described as piercing and hypnotic, capable of striking fear into the hearts of those who dare to meet its gaze.

Depictions of the basilisk

In contrast to the cockatrice, the basilisk is often portrayed as a serpent with the head of a menacing, venomous snake, complete with fangs that allow it to deliver a deadly bite. Its body is elongated and covered in scaly skin, providing it with a protective armor-like barrier. The basilisk’s eyes are said to possess a hypnotic quality, capable of petrifying its victims with a single glance. Its presence alone is enough to instill terror in the hearts of even the bravest warriors.

Birth of the Creatures

The hatching of the cockatrice

Legend has it that the cockatrice is born from the egg of a malevolent rooster that has been incubated by a toad or a snake. This unholy union gives rise to the fearsome creature known as the cockatrice. The hatching process is said to be accompanied by darkness and supernatural events. As the shell cracks open, releasing the creature into the world, an eerie silence falls upon the surroundings, as if nature itself holds its breath in anticipation of the creature’s arrival.

The hatching of the basilisk

The birth of the basilisk is shrouded in even greater mystery and darkness. According to ancient folklore, the basilisk is born from the egg of a serpent that has been incubated by a rooster or a toad. This process, often associated with occult rituals and forbidden practices, is said to result in the emergence of a creature of pure malevolence. The hatching of the basilisk is said to be marked by ominous signs and portents, foretelling the impending doom that its presence will bring.

Cockatrice as a Chimera

Cockatrice in 14th-century medieval England

During the 14th century in medieval England, the cockatrice was a creature surrounded by fear and superstition. It was believed to possess the combined attributes of a rooster and a serpent, making it a fearsome chimera. Its ability to fly, breathe fire, and petrify its victims with a single glance further heightened its reputation as a creature to be dreaded. Tales of encounters with the cockatrice spread far and wide, instilling fear in the hearts of peasants and nobles alike.

Abilities of the cockatrice

The cockatrice was said to possess a variety of terrifying abilities. Its ability to fly allowed it to swiftly descend upon its victims from the skies, often catching them unaware and unprepared. Its fiery breath, capable of reducing everything in its path to ashes, made it a formidable adversary. Perhaps most chilling of all was its gaze, which had the power to turn those unfortunate enough to meet it into stone. This deadly combination of abilities made the cockatrice a creature to be both feared and revered.

The Difference Between the Basilisk and the Cockatrice

Killing the Cockatrice

Turning the cockatrice into stone

Despite its formidable nature, legends tell of a way to neutralize the cockatrice’s threats. According to folklore, the creature could be turned to stone by the sight of its own reflection. By cleverly using a mirror or a mirrored shield, one could deflect the cockatrice’s gaze back onto itself, causing it to become petrified. This method, although requiring great courage and precision, provided a means of self-defense against the fearsome creature.

Effect of a rooster’s crow

Another curious method of incapacitating the cockatrice was said to be the crow of a rooster. It was believed that the sound of a rooster’s crow could cause the cockatrice to become disoriented and lose its lethal focus. This temporary confusion would allow those in danger to escape its deadly gaze and find safety. The power of the rooster’s crow was seen as a beacon of hope for those who feared encountering the cockatrice.

Weasel as the only immune animal

In the realm of the cockatrice, there was one creature that was said to possess immunity to its gaze – the weasel. Legends claim that the weasel possessed a natural resistance to the petrifying gaze of the cockatrice, allowing it to venture near the creature without fear. It is said that when the weasel encountered the cockatrice, it would fearlessly attack and kill the beast with its sharp claws and teeth. This unique immunity granted the weasel a position of importance and power in the fight against the cockatrice.

Movement and Size of the Basilisk

Distinct movement of the basilisk

Where the cockatrice was known for its ability to fly swiftly through the air, the basilisk was thought to possess a different mode of movement. It was said to glide silently along the ground, its serpentine body slithering with supernatural grace. This unique method of locomotion gave the basilisk a sinister and eerie aspect, as it appeared to effortlessly glide towards its unsuspecting prey.

Gigantic size of basilisks

Not only was the basilisk known for its distinctive movement, but it was also described as a creature of gigantic proportions. Legends spoke of basilisks so large that they could tower over humans and even dwarf other mythical creatures. These massive beasts struck fear into the hearts of all who encountered them, their enormous size serving as a testament to their status as apex predators.

Gaze and Breath of the Basilisk

Turning victims into stone

One of the most infamous attributes of the basilisk was its ability to turn its victims into stone with a single gaze. The basilisk’s eyes were said to possess an otherworldly power, capable of petrifying anything that dared to meet its deadly gaze. Legends told of entire villages and armies being turned to stone by the basilisk’s piercing stare, leaving behind a haunting tableau frozen in time.

Putrid breath withering plants and incapacitating humans

In addition to its deadly gaze, the basilisk was said to possess a breath so foul that it had the power to wither plants and incapacitate humans. Legends described the basilisk’s breath as putrid and toxic, carrying a noxious scent that could induce nausea and weakness in anyone who smelled it. This breath was a powerful weapon used by the basilisk to disorient and weaken its victims before its deadly gaze could finish them.

Rare ability to breathe fire

While the ability to turn victims to stone and emit a toxic breath were terrifying enough, some legends suggest that certain basilisks possessed the rare ability to breathe fire. This added element of danger made encounters with these particular basilisks even more perilous. It is said that the flames unleashed by a fire-breathing basilisk could consume anything in its path, leaving only devastation and ash in its wake.

Toxic venom at a distance

Another formidable weapon in the basilisk’s arsenal was its ability to project toxic venom at a distance. It was believed that the basilisk could expel a venomous spray from its mouth, capable of causing severe injury or even death to its intended victims. This lethal projectile enhanced the basilisk’s reputation as a deadly foe, as it could strike from afar without putting itself at risk.


Use of a weasel or rooster to kill basilisks

Although basilisks were formidable creatures, legends provided a glimmer of hope for those seeking to vanquish them. It was believed that the gaze of a weasel or the crow of a rooster could incapacitate or even kill a basilisk. Just as a weasel was immune to the cockatrice’s gaze, it was said to possess the same immunity against the basilisk. The crow of a rooster, on the other hand, was believed to disrupt the basilisk’s focus and render it vulnerable to attack.

Shared weaknesses of basilisks and cockatrices

In addition to their specific weaknesses, both basilisks and cockatrices shared certain vulnerabilities. It was believed that exposure to the crowing of a rooster or the sight of their own reflection could temporarily stun or incapacitate both creatures. This provided an opportunity for potential victims to escape and seek safety. These shared weaknesses offered a glimmer of hope in the face of two formidable adversaries.

Difference in Popularity

Basilisk as a staple in fantasy

In the realm of fantasy, the basilisk has become a staple creature, appearing in numerous works of literature, film, and popular culture. Its combination of terrifying attributes – from its lethal gaze to its ability to breathe fire – has captured the imagination of audiences worldwide. The basilisk’s menacing presence and immense power have made it a favorite choice for authors and filmmakers looking to inject their stories with a sense of danger and drama.

Cockatrice relegated to medieval legend

While the basilisk has enjoyed widespread popularity in the world of fantasy, the cockatrice has largely remained relegated to the realm of medieval legend. Its comedic aspect, with its rooster’s head and ability to turn victims to stone, has made it a subject of fascination among scholars studying mythology and folklore. However, the cockatrice has not achieved the same level of fame as its more fearsome counterpart, the basilisk.

Comparing the Fearsome Figures

The sinister and terrifying nature of the basilisk

The basilisk is undoubtedly one of the most fearsome mythical creatures to have ever been imagined. Its ability to turn victims to stone with its gaze, coupled with its toxic breath and potentially deadly fire-breathing abilities, paint it as a creature of unimaginable horror. The basilisk represents the embodiment of terror, capable of reducing entire kingdoms to lifeless stone statues with a single glance.

The comedic aspect of the cockatrice

In contrast to the basilisk, the cockatrice possesses a certain comedic element in its appearance and abilities. The combination of a rooster’s head and a serpent’s body creates an almost comical image, which contrasts with the eerie and sinister nature of the basilisk. The cockatrice’s ability to turn victims to stone with its gaze, while still formidable, evokes a sense of dark humor and irony.


In conclusion, the basilisk and the cockatrice, while both mythical creatures with fearsome reputations, have distinct characteristics that set them apart. The basilisk, with its ability to turn victims to stone, its toxic breath, and potential fire-breathing abilities, strikes terror into the hearts of all who encounter it. In contrast, the cockatrice, with its comical appearance and ability to petrify with a gaze, offers a more lighthearted take on mythical creatures. While both have fascinated and captivated audiences throughout history, it is the sense of dread and horror associated with the basilisk that has led it to become a staple in fantasy, while the cockatrice remains a lesser-known figure relegated to medieval legends.

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