The petla, or "forest-strangler", of southwestern Endor was commonly found in the scattered woodlands of Far Harad (particularly in the Forest of Tears). It haunted the oases between Umbar and Drêl, lurking in the branches and pools that the Haradrim prized so dearly. One of Middle-earth's most fearsome reptiles, the petla was an able hunter who had perfected the arts of camouflage and ambush. It was mottled brown in color and blended perfectly with woodland hues. Dropping from above or entangling its prey in water, the snake attacked by using its powerful jaws to gain a grip and then coiled its length around its hapless victim.

Petlavi reached lengths exceeding thirty feet and at least one specimen measured forty-five feet in length. Their thickest portions were over a foot wide, and they had been known to swallow a whole goat (using their distended jaws).

Petlavi liked to bite; however their principal weapon was their coiling, constricting body. Whenever they took hold of prey, the victim had little hope of survival. From that point on, the enormously powerful body would move to coil itself around the target's body. This process took one to ten minutes. It was an extremely hard maneuver to break out of a petla's grasp and, once the beast perfected its grip, the victim would perish due to suffocation in three to thirty minutes.

The tables were turned when the petla confronted a group, as its methods of attack left it relatively defenseless if other foes were involved. For this reason, the snake would not often stand and fight when confronted by more than one enemy.


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