Snake (monster class)

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For the monster, see Snake.

The snake is a monster class that appears in NetHack, and is represented by the uppercase S glyph (S). Snakes are designated internally by the macro S_SNAKE.[1]

The monster class contains the following monsters:[2]

Common traits

Snakes are neutral-aligned carnivorous and oviparous animals that are slithy and naturally have no limbs. Snakes are capable of hiding under items on the ground, with the exception of the python - they are also generally poisonous, except for the python and garter snake.

Tridents have a +2 to-hit bonus against snakes that are not currently in water.[3]

Playing a wooden flute has a a chance of pacifying nearby snakes based on dexterity and experience level - the effect occurs when the sum of your character's experience level and the roll of a dexterity-sized die is equal to or greater than 27.[4][5]


Randomly generated snake monsters are always created hostile with the exception of the garter snake, which may generate as peaceful for neutral characters.

The clerical monster spell summon insects will generate snakes if all insects are extinct or genocided.[6]

The snake monster class is the first quest monster class for Archeologists: the monster class also occupies the slot typically designated for the first quest monster, and so makes up 2435 of the monsters that are randomly generated on the Archeologist quest. Several snakes are also generated on each level of the quest branch at level creation: eleven random snakes are generated on the home level, with eight stationed near the entrance of the college; six are generated on the upper filler level; three are generated on the lower filler level(s); and eighteen are generated on the locate and goal levels.

Medusa's Island generates some snakes at level creation for certain maps: the first variant places a random snake in each of the hallways within Medusa's dwelling on the center isle, while the fourth variant generates 14 random snakes around the level.

Snakes generated at level creation are given a random item to hide under, even if they are do not actually have the ability to hide as with pythons.[7]

Body parts

Snake also refers to the grouping of body parts for the forms of snakes and nagas, with the following words and phrases in messages referring to body parts exchanged as follows:[8]

Body part Description
Arm Vestigial limb
Eye Eye
Face Face
Finger Large scale
Fingertip Large scale tip
Foot Rear region
Hand Scale gap
Handed Scale gapped
Head Head
Leg Rear region
Light headed Light headed
Neck Neck
Spine Length
Toe Rear scale
Hair Scales
Blood Blood
Lung Lung
Nose Forked tongue
Stomach Stomach


The snake first appears in Hack for PDP-11, which is based on Jay Fenlason's Hack, and is included in the initial bestiary for Hack 1.0. The other snakes are introduced in NetHack 3.0.0.


Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that are ectothermic and amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales. Many species of snakes have skulls with several more joints than their lizard ancestors, enabling them to swallow prey much larger than their heads. Snakes are thought to have evolved from either burrowing or aquatic lizards, perhaps during the Jurassic period, with the earliest known fossils dating to between 143 and 167 million years ago; some species retain a pelvic girdle with a pair of vestigial claws on either side. There are at least twenty-five forms of "legless lizard" that resemble snakes as a result of independently evolving elongate bodies with limbs that are either greatly reduced or nonexistent; several common groups of legless lizards still have eyelids and external ears, which snakes lack.

Living snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica, and on most smaller land masses with the exception of some large islands, such as Ireland, Iceland and, as well as many small islands of the Atlantic and central Pacific oceans. Around thirty families are currently recognized, comprising about 520 genera and about 3,900 species - the oldest preserved descriptions of snakes can be found in the Brooklyn Papyrus. Most species of snake are nonvenomous and those that have venom use it primarily to kill and subdue prey rather than for self-defense; some snakes have venom potent enough to cause painful injury or death to humans.



SLASH'EM adds some new monsters to the snake monster class:

The Snake Pit of the Lawful Quest contains two to four random snakes at level creation.


dNetHack adds many new monsters to the monster class:

The Paradise Island map of The Sea will generate three random snakes at level creation.

The Cartouche of the Cat Lord and The Wings of Garuda are wards that can scare off snakes.


EvilHack adds one new monster to the monster class: