Cerberus (sûrˈbərəs), in Greek mythology, many-headed dog with a mane and a tail of snakes; offspring of Typhon and Echidna. He guarded the entrance of Hades. One of the 12 labors of Hercules was to capture him.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
a genus of snakes of the family Colubridae. The body measures up to 1.3 m in length. The tail is slightly compressed laterally. The upper parts are light gray with indistinct black spots or transverse stripes and the underparts are light yellow with dark markings. There are three species, found in Southeast Asia, the Malay Archipelago, and northern Australia.
The best-known species, C. rhynchops, inhabits the mouths of rivers and brackish and freshwater lagoons and feeds on fish. The females bear from eight to 26 young, which measure 18–20 mm in length.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
three-headed beast guarding gates of hell. [Classical Myth.: Zimmerman, 55–56]
three-headed dog, guards gate to Hades. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 55]
three-headed watchdog of Hades. [Gk. Myth.: Avery, 270]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Greek myth a dog, usually represented as having three heads, that guarded the entrance to Hades
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005