Common Name: Hydra, Lernaean Hydra, Hydra of Lerna
The Hydra was a serpent-like monster found in the Lake of Lerna according to Greek mythology. The Hydra was known for its multiple heads. The number of heads varies depending on the source, but it is typically shown with nine in most depictions. It also had the ability to regrow two heads for each head that is cut off. The Hydra’s breath was said to be a noxious gas and its blood was poisonous.
The hero Hercules was given twelve labors, or tasks, by King Eurystheus. The second of these tasks was to slay the Hydra. As he proceeded to attempt to cut off the beast’s numerous heads, he found that it would grow two more for every head he removed.
He then had the idea to burn the stumps of the heads after cutting them off, which prevented them from re-growing. The final, immortal Hydra head was chopped off using a golden sword gifted to Hercules by the goddess Athena.
Hercules would use the beast’s poison blood to slay other monsters, by dipping the tips of his arrows in the venomous liquid.