The lightning snake (LĪT-ning/snāk) is a giant sea creature that generates electricity. Technically, the lightning snake is a giant electric eel, but if we insist on being pedantic then it must be acknowledged that electric eels aren't really eels either, but knifefish, and then we would have to call it the giant lightning knifefish.
An adult lightning snake can reach up to fifty feet in length, and weigh up to 1800 pounds. It is native to the north Pacific Ocean, preferring the coastal waters of Thunderbird Province. The lightning snake can control the amperage and voltage of its discharge, and can produce bursts up to 25,000 volts. A lightning snake can produce bolts of electricity to stun or even kill its prey. It also uses the lightning for defense and communication.
The higher the voltage and amperage, the shorter the duration of the electrical burst. An adult lightning snake can reliably produce enough energy, for long enough time, to kill a human being.
The lightning snake is capable of creating thunderstorms at sea, and drawing lightning down from the sky, which it may use to recharge itself when low on power; however, there must be at least minimal cloud cover for the snake to take advantage of this ability.
Lightning snakes have been known to attack sailing ships; however, this is rare. It usually occurs when the ship is transporting cargo the lightning snake finds interesting, although at least one ship has been destroyed by a lightning snake with crpytozoologists aboard attempting to discover more about this elusive creature. This may be correlation, and not causation, but cryptozoologists since have chosen to study other less-deadly creatures.
Lightning snakes are immune to any electrical damage, but they have an odd vulnerability: they can be entirely controlled by a thunderbird. It is presumed by cryptozoologists that thunderbirds have a greater affinity for electricity and thus can control the inner electricity of the lightning snake. Lightning snakes have been observed passively presenting themselves as food for hungry thunderbirds.
Lightning snakes mate for life, and only reproduce once every few years. The female will lay around 300 eggs in a nest, of which only a few will hatch, and even fewer will grow to maturity. It usually takes around 20 to 25 years for a lightning snake to reach full maturity. Lightning snakes are long-lived; the oldest lightning snake on record was 137 years old when it was killed by poachers.
A juvenile lightning snake is called an elver. A group of lightning snakes is called a shoal.
Lightning snakes live in the coastal waters of Thunderbird Province. They are saltwater-dwelling. They live in dens, or cubby holes formed under the ocean floor.
Lightning snakes have the same internal organs as the electric eel, only on a larger scale. Instead of 5,000 to 6,000 electroplaques, a lightning snake could have 20 times as many, in a much larger size. In most ways, they resemble their smaller knifefish bretheren.
Lightning snakes are carnivorous, eating most sea life including smaller whales and wasco. First-born hatchlings often eat other eggs and embryos from later clutches.
Lightning snakes cannot be trained, and are too large to display in aquariums, much less use as pets or familiars. They cannot be used for transportation, as they would fry any riders. Their electroplaques can be used for a number of spells and potions. Their skin can be tanned and worn as a cloak that resists electrical attacks. Their bones can be used for the cores of wands that excel with electricity magic and artificiery, making them popular with Cultus Iktus practitioners. Their lightning can be stored in terracotta jars as primitive batteries.
Lightning snakes are best escaped from by a vertical retreat away from the water. Levitation is less desirable than flight, because a wizard levitating too close to the water may still be in range of the lightning snake's leap into the air. Most lightning snake components are leavings from when a thunderbird chooses them for their dinner. It has been speculated that a powerful enough cold spell, cast with precise timing, could imprison the lightning snake in a block of ice, but all attempts have failed.