Harpoontail snakes are named for their distinctive barbed tail. Highly poisonous, these snakes range from hot jungles to tropical waters and have adapted to their individual habitats over the course of years, becoming common to the point of nuisance. Many are native to Granea's islands and each island has its own unique breeds of harpoontails.
The most well-known species of harpoontails are Salamander Mimic on the islands, and an invasive species from mainland to the north. They range from brown to green and have scales on their heads and hoods that turn red when threatened. Large yellow scales, spines, and horn-like projections help these snakes appear like salamander lizards. Both their fangs and their tailbarbs contain powerful poisons that will kill a dog instantly and knock out a man for days. If not treated, a human victim may die within hours.
Salamander Mimics were used by the Freedom Faction during the 10-Year War. Starved snakes were thrown or led into Alliance Faction camps and set loose close to tents. Seeking the warmth of body heat, the snakes crawl into the soldiers' bedrolls. Soldiers who awaken suddenly trigger the snakes' defense mechanism and are bitten or stung immediately. While the harpoontail takes off, the still drowsy soldiers cannot discern the reason or source of the bite and may or may not leave it untreated. Many died until preventative measures were taken against this.
The Use of Harpoontails
The war resulted in widespread breeding of salamander mimics and the endangerment of many native rodents. But because these snakes are delicious once cooked, they are hunted both for their poison glands and their flesh. Because they can be sluggish after eating, trappers leave out dead mice loaded with stone. Once a snake swallows the treat, it is captured, unable to resist due to the rocks in its throat. Others will kill them with well-aimed blowdarts covered Trefodale extract which is poisonous if uncooked. The snake would die in under a minute and its cooked flesh harms no consumers.
The scales and spines are used in jewelry and clothing, as are the harpoon tail-tips once the poison is neutralized. The skin is often used to make musical instruments or to wrap weapon hilts in a silky covering. Fresh harpoontail venom glands can be used in both medicine and poison. Small amounts make for weak sleeping aids. High concentrations, prepared to keep fresh, can be applied to weapons to paralyze, knock out, or kill. A quantity of the venom is required to make the antidote to the venom itself.