Latin name: Jaculus
Other names: Iaculus, Javelin-snake, Javelot
A flying serpent
The jaculus is a serpent that can fly. It hides in a tree until an animal passes underneath, and then it throws itself down on the animal and kills it.
|Sources (chronological order)|
Lucan [1st century CE] (Pharsalia, book 9, verse 848): "Swift Jaculus there...". (verse 962-966): "Upon branchless trunk a serpent, named / By Libyans Jaculus, rose in coils to dart / His venom from afar. Through Paullus' brain / It rushed, nor stayed; for in the wound itself / Was death...".
Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 8, 35): The iaculus hurls itself from the branches of a tree, so that it is not only dangerous to the feet, but flies through the air like a missle from a catapult.
Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 4:29): The iaculus is a flying snake. They jump from trees and dart onto passing animals, from which they get their name, darter (iaculi).