I've seen pictures of this legendary creature many times in books as a kid. What an odd combination I thought, a chicken and a lizard.
The Basilisk, is also known as the Cockatrice. It is a mortally dangerous giant mythical creature, half reptile, half cock, the King of Serpents, which had huge wings and could fly.
It had long claws and a head like a cock and on it's head was a crown, with the body of a snake, a desert lizard creature.
It guarded personal treasures with its poisonous breath, and had a glance that could kill. No wonder the town of Basel in Switzerland uses it as a symbol.
That explains why we see it so much, symbolizes, strength and security.
It was hatched from a yolkless egg that was laid in cow dung by a cock. Supposedly, a toad or some kind of serpent hatched it, by sitting on it.
There was only one way to overcome a Basilisk and that was to make it look at its reflection in a mirror. Don't ask me how this was accomplished but I've heard of a suit, made of mirrors. The creature can't look at it or "puff" he's gone.
Basilisks have become a symbol of the AntiChrist in Christian tradition and during the middle ages the Basilisk became associated with the sins; lust, treachery and diseases of the world, especially syphilis.
Though, no one has actually seen a Basilisk and if they had they would be dead, anyway, it is said to be alive and well, living in a cave somewhere near the community of Cantabria, Spain.
The Basilisk has been mentioned in the Bible Isaiah 14:29. Do not rejoice, all you Philistines, that the rod that struck you is broken; from that root of that snake will spring up a viper, its fruit will be darting, venomous serpent, and Psalm 91:13 You will tread upon the great lion and the serpent.
The best known story and historically-verifiable encounter with the creature is the tale of the Warsaw Basilisk of 1587.
Back to reality, there is really such a thing as a lizard called Basilisk, a small green lizard that is 12 inches long, that lives in North America from Mexico to Central America, and surprisingly, can walk on water, named The Jesus Christ Lizard.