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I've already asked a few questions about Lamia on this site $-$ female hybrids of half snake and human (sort of like mermaids) represented in Alendyias, a world of chaos $-$ only to find myself realizing Lamia are prone to mutations.

This isn't usually a problem. One type of mutated Lamia, the Maralith, has six arms, sure, but they make it work. Another type, the Gorgons, have scales all over, claws and fangs and legs, that's different but advantageous.

But then we get to Dracenae. Normal Lamia have a serpentine trunk instead of legs, starting below the waist. Dracenae, on the other hand, due to mutation or changes in gene expression, have a pelvis and legs more like normal human's, each ending above the knee and seguing into a serpentine trunk.

In other words, they are like the snake-people in the Percy Jackson series, but biological and with someone unwilling to just handwave. (Yes I know, that last part is a weakness and I try to be mindful of it.) My question is, with the single snake trunk split into two smaller limbs, can they move effectively? Or would this mutation effectively cripple them?

To make things clearer, How would a person who is a snake from the waist down move around? may look similar, but it is not, for the simple reason that a Dracenae has to move with very different appendages below the waist (short legs with snake trunks below the knee, instead of one solid snake trunk). The general idea is the same though, please assume here that the human organs are in the humanoid half as in there.

To clarify further, these are mutated Lamia, which have single tails of the right length and proportion necessary for balance and movement, and like Lamia they can technically slide on their belly but would rather move more like a cobra, with the upper half reared up.

The only difference is that these Lamia have rudimentary legs with their snake tail split between the legs, and while I am no expert, I suspect slithering side by side may not work (though if I am wrong, please correct me) and walking like a person, in a standing position, will be just impossible.

Please let me know if more information is needed, or if the question can be improved, I'm always open to feedback!

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  • $\begingroup$ @Pelinore: good question, please see the edit. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Nov 17, 2022 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ seen, first comment deleted, you've got it covered there so it's surplus now 👍 this one follows in a day or two to keep your comments clean 😉 $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Nov 19, 2022 at 0:20

2 Answers 2

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Underwater

Such 'legs', with some weight assistance from being somewhat buoyant in water, would function well underwater. While I admit that such appendages would be much better suited to simply swimming, they would at least allow a good enough though somewhat slow approximation of upright bipedal locomotion when submerged.

Alternatively, upside-down, in the trees

Depending on the prehensility and overall curl/grip strength of these appendages, they could work exceedingly well in the dracenae's favour as a means of swinging from branch to branch in a forest, and may result in a rather frighteningly fast arboreal creature if they have the appropriate adaptations to handle being upside-down and swinging around almost all the time. Should they find themselves on flat ground they'll be in trouble of course, but so long as they have a network of grippable things to hang and swing from they should be more than fine.

Alright, bear with me, for I have another alternative

All dracanae are double side-winders, with snake trunks whose ventral scales face each other at the knees and whose tails extend out to the sides.

Here is an actual side-winder's locomotion:

enter image description here

Picture the snake's head being where the dracanae's knee is. Now copy/paste it to their other side for the other leg and boom, you've got a creature that moves forward by side-winding both their sideways-stickin'-out snake trunks at the same time. They could also move backwards, or side-to-side like a crab by having one trunk slither forward normally and the other backward(orientation of the ventral scales is key here), or turn by winding one slower than the other, or turn on the spot by only winding one of their legs and anchoring the other. Just about the only issue I foresee with this kind of locomotion is sudden stops, which will topple their top-heavy bodies onto their bellies if they don't stop slow enough or catch themselves with their hands or perhaps a long stick of some sort.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your perspective! It's nice to know this can actually work and even be beneficial. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Nov 19, 2022 at 17:45
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1) Slithering on both snake-legs simultaneously

Both snake-legs are on the ground and each slithers ahead. For an observer it might look similar to a human kneeling on a moving cart: the up and down bobbing from taking steps is missing and the upper body will hardly move (in particular the arms will not be swinging back and forth).

2) Slithering on one snake-leg, combined with steps

One snake-leg is one the ground and moves ahead by slithering. The other leg is lifted up, pushed forward and put down. Now this snake-leg starts to slither while the first leg takes a step. It might look somewhat like a human (slowly) sliding on ice while feigning taking little steps.

3) Walking on "knees"

Both legs are moved in turn, the snake-legs themselves are mostly rigid when on the ground. It might somewhat resemble how a human would move when walking on their knees.

4) Walking on "hind-snake-legs"

Mostly the same as variant 3. But to increase the length of each step (and increase the movement speed) the snake-legs "stand on their tail-end". Not literally on their tail though, that would very likely be not sturdy and strong enough. This might be comparable to a human walking on their toes - possibly a bit wobbly. If the length from ground to hip matches that of a human, this might look very similar to how a human moves.


I'd speculate that variant 1 is probably the least strenuous, while variant 4 might be reserved for emergencies. Mode 2 is probably the most illustrating - only this species can move in that fashion, neither humans nor lamias can emulate it.

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