Kumcharangi (kum-char-ĀN-jē) are subterranean winged snakes with a venomous bite. They are highly aggressive and very dangerous. A juvenile kumcharangi is about a foot long, but an adult can grow up to ten feet in length. They are a mottled black and brown color with glowing yellow eyes with a nictitating membrane. The glowing eyes of the kumcharangi allow it to see in the dark.
Kumcharangi live underground in burrows and can wend their way through the soil with no difficulty. They sense their prey through vibrations from above and will burst from the Earth attacking to subdue their prey and, in many cases, will then devour their prey whole.
The wings of a Kumcharangi are made of a black leathery skin with scales and fold flat along their body. The wings can bend with the rest of the body so they undulate with the kumcharangi as it slithers underground or on the ground.
Kumcharangi are able to make short gliding flights, and can sometimes drop from above from trees, but this is uncommon behavior. They have been known to burst from the ground some distance from their target and they glide toward their prey with a distinctive high pitched wail. Human victims of this particularly violent attack have described it as so terrifying they were unable to move. It is unknown if this is a special effect of the attack, or just a normal reaction to seeing a giant winged snake with glowing yellow eyes burst from the soil and glide toward you.
If you are bitten by a kumcharangi, the venom can cause a lingering effect known as Aphotic Bane. Wizards infected with the Bane slowly lose their sanity, ultimately ending their lives in an asylum. Master Healers can slow the progression of the disease, but have yet to cure it entirely. It is estimated that 45% of those bitten by the kumcharangi will suffer from Aphotic Bane. The symptoms can stay dormant for years, so it is possible for a wizard to be suffering from the Bane and not know it. There is a strange quality in the venom of the kumcharangi that precludes the creation of an anti-venom.
Kumcharangi tend to live solitary lives, coming together only to mate. A female kumcharangi will lay up to ten eggs in a clutch, staying to protect the nest until the eggs hatch. Kumcharangi do not develop their venom until they reach adulthood, making juvenile kumcharangi very vulnerable to predators and poachers. Kumcharangi do not breed well in captivity so they have to be caught in the wild. A newly hatched kumcharangi is called a hatchling. A juvenile kumcharangi is called a neonate. It takes two years for a kumcharangi to reach adulthood. The collective noun for a group of Kumcharangi is a pit.
Kumcharangi live in small burrows in the loamy soil of the American southeast. They dislike cold weather and will become sluggish and some even hibernate in the winter months.
An adult kumcharangi can grow to ten feet in length. They can have a wingspan of up to six feet. The glowing eyes are caused by a magical effect; no evidence of bioluminescence have been found. A kumcharangi will shed its skin about once a month, more often as it grows from neonate to adult.
Kumcharangi are carnivorous and will eat small to medium sized mammals. The favored preys of the juvenile are mice and rats. Adult kumcharangi can eat animals as large as juvenile sheep or goats. A kumcharangi usually feeds about once a month.
Shed Kumcharangi skin has no magical purpose although it is decorative; fresh skin can be fashioned into charms and gris-gris. Their eyes can be used to make a potion that allows one to see in the dark. Their bones can be used as wand cores to create wands with strong offensive and earth-based leanings. Other parts of the kumcharangi can be used for potions, charms, and talismans. Kumcharangi venom loses its toxicity soon after extraction and is not useful as a poison or potion ingredient. Some mages keep kumcharangi as pets or familiars. They may be devenomed in that case. Kumcharangi can also be trained as guards as long as the training stars when they are still hatchlings or neonates. Seeing an albino kumcharangi is considered a powerful omen that can be positive or negative depending on circumstance.
Kumcharangi are overall exceptionally resistant to damage with the exception of fire. Among the counter-attacks, only a powerful fire spell can deter a kumcharangi from completing a gliding charge. Unfortunately, a poorly aimed spell cast in panic has more than once caused a conflagration that saved the Wizard from a venomous bite only to leave a burnt up corpse. Weak or middling fire spells will not have enough oomph to effectively combat a kumcharangi. Since there is no anti-venom, those unlucky enough to be bitten by a kumcharangi may be advised to amputate the affected limb to prevent subsequent infection with Aphotic Bane.