Lizard. Lizards receive little attention in the Bible, although they are common in Palestine. They appeared on the list of unclean animals (Lev. 11:30) and were thus forbidden as food to the Israelites.

The lizard comes in many species. Some of the small lizards often pass for snakes, while larger versions of this animal resemble the crocodile. All lizards are cold-blooded reptiles. Since their body temperature depends on their surroundings, they thrive in the tropics and in deserts. But when the sun gets too hot even for them, they lie in the shade or burrow into the sand. One species is even called a sand lizard (Lev. 11:30); (skink, NIV).

Lizards are ingenious in the different ways they move. Some unfurl skin-like sails and soar from tree to tree. Monitor lizards (probably the Bible’s great lizard, (Lev. 11:29), RSV, NIV) swim well. They can also climb trees. Many lizards scamper rapidly across the ground. Others have poorly developed legs or no legs at all. But the little gecko (translated ferret in KJV, (Lev. 11:30)) can walk across a plaster ceiling upside down or cling to a pane of glass. His toes end in a pad made of hundreds of tiny hooks, capped with a hidden claw. This enables him to get a foothold on smooth surfaces. Geckos are abundant in Palestine.

Most lizards eat insects. Larger species of this reptile also eat small animals or plants. The chameleon’s sticky tongue, nearly as long as his body, whips out to catch insects. Chameleons are also common in Palestine. They are so narrow they look as if they have been squashed, and their bulging eyes can see in opposite directions. They have a long tail that can grasp a branch or coil into a spiral when at rest. Chameleons move at a slow, deliberate pace.

The chameleon is known for its ability to change its color to match its surroundings. Actually, this is a common protective trait for most species of lizards. Another defensive tactic is the use of tricks or bluffs. The glass snake, a type of lizard, escapes capture by shedding its wiggling tail. Other lizards hiss, puff up, or use their tails as whips.

Source: [Anon-Animals]


A cockatrice is a kind of snake with a something like a chicken’s head, and 2 legs.

Cockatrice (see Snake).

A cockatrice is a mythical beast, essentially a two-legged dragon or serpent-like creature with a rooster’s head. Described by Laurence Breiner as “an ornament in the drama and poetry of the Elizabethans”, it was featured prominently in English thought and myth for centuries.

Source: [Anon-Animals]


Asp (see Snake).

Bible occurrence: (Hebrew pethen) Deu 32:33; Job 20:14, 16; Isa 11:8; Rom 3:13.

This was probably the very deadly Egyptian cobra (Naja haje) which the Egyptians worshipped as uraeus. It is small serpent that gives a very poisonous bite which gives a quick death, as if in sleep.

There are three kinds of asps, the Chersea, Chelidonia, and the Ptyas, of which the last is most deadly [Brown]. The venom of an asp kills by causing sleep, thirst, or loss of blood. Immediately after the bite the person loses his sight, the part bitten swells, and a moderate pain is felt in the stomach. It is said that there is no cure except by cutting off the bitten limb immediately.

The peace and security of the Messiah’s kingdom is seen in a child playing on the opening hole to the asp’s home (security in the presence of great danger which has been controlled).

Wicked men are compared to asps because of their subtlety and carnality (lying in the filth of the earth), and because of their gradual murdering of themselves and others with a cruel venom, bitter gall, and the destructive poison of sin. Asps are mute, hearing no sound, and these wicked men like asps, hear not our Saviour.

Source: [DCox]

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Snake. A snake is the Bible’s first– and final– animal villain (Genesis 3; Rev. 20:2). Throughout the Old and New Testaments, several different words for snake or serpent appear some 20 times. Scholars can only make educated guesses as to which of Palestine’s many species of snakes are meant in most verses.

The asp and adder are both common in the Holy Land. The asp is a type of cobra with its familiar hood, although its hood is not as pronounced as the Indian cobra’s. There is also a desert cobra, which has no hood at all. Adder and viper are two different words for the same deadly snake. A horned viper and sawscale, or carpet viper, are native to Israel. Another species mentioned in the Bible is the sand viper (Is. 30:6), (NEB).

In the wilderness, the Israelites were plagued by fiery serpents (Num. 21:6). “Fiery” may indicate the burning fever caused by their bite. Or it may refer to the puff adder, which has yellow, flame-like markings. The cockatrice of the KJV was a mythological monster. It had the wings and head of a cock and the tail of a dragon. According to the superstitious legend about this animal, its look could kill.

Most snakes in Palestine were non-poisonous, but the Jewish people feared and hated all snakes. In the Bible the serpent is often referred to as the symbol of evil and wrongdoing (Ps. 140:3; Jer. 8:17).

In spite of this attitude among the Jews, some of Israel’s neighbors associated serpents with health, life, and immortality. The kingdom of Lower Egypt took the cobra as its official symbol. Even Moses once lifted up a BRONZE SERPENT before the Israelites at God’s command to save the people from the fiery serpents in the wilderness (Num. 21:9). Some continued to worship that bronze serpent until King Hezekiah destroyed it generations later (2 Kin. 18:4).

Snakes are fascinating creatures. Scales on their undersides provide traction. Their forked tongues flick rapidly in and out to collect sensations of touch and smell. (Psalm 58:4) is correct in speaking of the “deaf cobra,” since snakes have no ears to receive sound waves. Like deaf persons, they rely on physical vibrations to pick up sounds. Thus cobras are not charmed by music, but by movement.

A snake’s spine may contain as many as 300 tiny vertebrae. This gives them their amazing flexibility to coil and curve. Their mouths are hinged to permit them to swallow and eat creatures much larger than themselves. Their eyes are protected by transparent lids which are always open, causing scientists to wonder if snakes ever sleep.

Source: [Anon-Animals]