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The serpent is a large aquatic creature that inhabits the waters of the Earth Kingdom, specifically the lakes surrounding the Serpent's Pass, which was named after the creature; fear of the serpent was instilled by nearby lore, as exhibited via a graffito reading "abandon hope" carved into one of the posts at the entrance of the pass.
The serpent first encountered Team Avatar, accompanied by Than, Ying, and Than's sister, when Katara used her waterbending to part the water and allow the party to travel in a small, capsule-like bubble below the surface in order to cross a submerged portion of the Serpent's Pass; the creature menacingly circled the group before swimming right through their bubble, causing it to burst. Before the creature could attack again, Toph earthbent the ground underneath the group, raising them the the surface. Encircling the earth pillar once, the serpent burst through the surface and threateningly loomed over its prey, now stranded in the middle of the two ends of the pass. As Sokka's attempted to appease the serpent by offering Momo in exchange for safe passing, it attacked but was knocked aside by a powerful air swipe from Aang. As the Avatar took to the sky, the serpent hunted him down, enabling Katara to create an ice path to the shore for the rest of the group. The serpent failed to snatch Aang out of the air and soon found part of its body encased in ice as well, when Katara had also jumped into the fight. The frozen barrier did little to stop its advance, however, and it easily broke free, now focusing its attention on Katara surfing the water. Despite it efforts to catch up to its nimble prey, the creature eventually found itself trapped in a large whirlpool created by the combined efforts of Aang and Katara. Unable to break out of the current, the centrifugal force caused the serpent to collide with one of the walls along the pass, after which it suck into the water and retreated.
The serpent encountered Team Avatar once again some time later, as they attempted to outrun a Fire Nation destroyer with their own captured Fire Nation warship commanded by Bato and Chief Hakoda; the creature breached the surface near the two ships, poised to attack the one Team Avatar was commanding, but before it could execute its attack, it was hit against the head by a flaming projectile fired by a trebuchet. Angered, the serpent constricted the other ship, enabling Team Avatar to escape to safety.
The one-hundred-foot-long serpent is brightly colored with teal scales from the neck to the tail and purple veins segmenting the length of the body. The anterior ends of the upper jaw extend into frill-like structures on which a pair of rods are situated, directly underneath a pair of bright red eyes.
Purple stripes extend from each eye and continue down the length of the snout, which is flanked on both ends by long, purple nasal barbels. Two smaller, green maxillary barbels are also located just underneath the lower jaw. The serpent possesses an extensive gape, multiple rows of sharp teeth oriented backward, and enlarged canines on both jaws. While most of the teeth retract back into the mouth, the canines and incisors of the upper jaw remain outside of the mouth. The creature also has a prehensile tongue, the dorsal surface of which bears rows of dome-shaped sensory papillae.
A series of evenly dispersed green finlets gradually increase in size from the base of the head toward an enlarged dorsal fin near the center of the body, bearing multiple spines interconnected by cartilage. The dorsal fin extends from the central region of the body well past the pelvic region, where the structure sharply terminates. Otherwise, the serpent seems to lack any other functional fins.
This ferocious animal lives mostly on fish and other water creatures, but it will attack and eat just about anything—it has even been known to attack ships when looking for a meal. The serpent lets out a loud, blood-curdling scream just before it attacks.
The serpent's overall design is based on the sea serpent in mythology, most notably those from Western myths. The head and body is based on the seahorse, which is a long-faced fish with frills and a prehensile tail. In overall anatomy and design, the serpent is based on a group of fish called the syngnathidae, which include seahorses and pipefish.
- The serpent was featured in the unaired pilot of Avatar: It rose from the ocean and stood before Prince Zuko's ship, and later in the episode, the serpent's burned head was brought into the fort where Zuko was staying.
- The serpent also made an appearance in the non-canonical short School Time Shipping: housed within a tank in the classroom, the serpent appears as a small seahorse being fed by Aang.
- ↑ DiMartino, Michael Dante, Hamilton, Joshua (writers) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (September 15, 2006). "The Serpent's Pass". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (September 21, 2007). "The Awakening". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated.