The Hideous Zippleback is a large, two-headed Mystery Class dragon. It is sly and surprising, but certain noises can confuse it and cause it to entangle its heads. It made an appearance in the How to Train Your Dragon film, and has appeared ever since.
Behavior and Training
The dragon has two personalities and two minds, one in each head, and often different ideas, thoughts, and personalities causes the Hideous Zippleback's heads to argue with each other over what to do. This dragon reminds some Vikings of bickering siblings when they aren't running away from it. Occasionally the dragon forgets that it is a two headed dragon, and one head tries to go one way, and the other head tries to go the other way, this can be problematic. Even baby Zipplebacks fight over which direction to go or what to do.
It has been stated by Gobber that once this dragon is saved by a Viking, they must pay their long time debt. They are willing to do everything to show how grateful they are of their savior by giving them fish or affection. This could be another way for training a Zippleback. As Barf and Belch have proven, they will even leave their old owners to stay with another for his entire life until they return the favor by saving his life.
Zippleback is shown to be a double trouble dragon for the Vikings.
As eggs, they have the ability to contain their special ability of defense is their buoyant gas.
While sometimes these babies can be fuzzy, they can benefit from having a close relationship with their siblings from having increased hunting and defense, with one head watching for prey while the other head makes sure the coast is clear.
With their two heads, the Zippleback is one of the oddest dragons in the world. However, its two heads also give it deadly abilities that are unique from any other dragon species.
Gas and Spark
The head on the right side breathes a green, flammable gas, while the left head produces an electrical spark from its mouth to ignite the gas, creating lethal explosions, small fire bolts, or large fire 'walls' to contain their enemies. By itself, the gas can make a human disorientated if inhaled, as shown by Fishlegs.
They can also use this gas in order to hide themselves, which makes them very stealthy. They use it to unexpectedly strike their victims.
The Zippleback's special ability is to release a large amount of gas, and then set themselves on fire. They bite their own tails and become a flaming wheel, which they can use to knock out enemies.
In the movie, Fishlegs stated the Zippleback's venom affects the digestive system. However, the stats say that the Zippleback has no venom at all.
Speed and Agility
Despite the official website claiming Zipplebacks are poor fliers and walkers, Hideous Zipplebacks have shown to be quite agile and fast. This was demonstrated in the battle with the Red Death and later also multiple times in the series. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the Zippleback is actually a quite agile and flexible dragon, although nowhere being near the fastest.
Endurance and Stamina
Zippleback is able to endure the attack of a Typhoomerang and still able to get back to try to continue the battle, as they have a large amount of stamina on their side to continue long flights to catch up with other dragons.
These dragons are solitary hunters that prefer to hunt as ambush. Since these dragons have great stealth as they will use their gas to trap their prey in and able to do sneak attack. They even able to hunt well in the bushes in the forest as for ambush hunt.
Strength and Combat
Zippleback have proven to be very strong as they are able to tangle their necks together to carry weight of Gronckle. Fishlegs, Tuffnut, and Ruffnut without too munch difficulties. But single neck of Zippleback was shown by Barf that wasn't able to carry very heavy rider. They even showed some of their strength to hold their ground against Toothless.
As Zippleback have shown by Barf and Belch that they try to fight a Typhoomerang as they try spin around their large opponent to attack but proven can be easily get defeated.
While growing, hatchlings are stated in Dragonpedia to have high intellect and problem-solving abilities, such as having one head watch for danger while the other watches for food, or managing to solve complex problems as one head scares the prey into the mouth of the other head.
They have special ability to simultaneously transmitting information to both brains such as if one head is covered up like blindfold and the food is stuck in front of the other head that is not uncovered head, both heads will start salivating at the same time. With this special ability on their side make this dragon is nearly impossible to sneak up on a Zippleback.
The dual heads can be a vulnerability, as Drago Bludvist's forces were able to incapacitate a Zippleback by shooting darts into the neck of one head, knocking both heads out. These dragons have different personalities if they don't work together they can make themselves stall from their enemy's. They even slam into objects if both heads not paying attention when chasing prey as shown when wild Zippleback chase Tuffnut into a tree.
The Hideous Zippleback is often described as one of the most unusual dragons in the world. This dragon has two long, serpentine necks with spikes on it. These spikes can 'zip' together, in order to create the illusion of one neck. At the end of the necks, are two short heads. The Zippleback has a large horn on its nose, and two thinner horns on top of its head. Like most dragons, they have yellow reptile-like eyes. The teeth in their lower jaw seem to be longer then the one's in the upper jaw, sticking out. They also have two tails, which can also 'zip' together. The end of the tail posses a fin-like structure on its tails. The official website stated that, thanks to its relatively short legs and wings, the Zippleback is a slow walker and flier. Despite this, Barf and Belch has been seen flying quite fast. Their legs possess short, but strong legs with four sharp claws. The Zippleback is probably one of the longest of the medium-sized dragons, if not the biggest.
Known Hideous Zipplebacks
- Barf and Belch
- Barf and Belch's Mate
- Barf and Belch's Offspring
- Exiled Hideous Zippleback
- Whip and Lash (see Team Astrid)
- Sparks and Spew
Source: Dragons: Rise of Berk.
Titan winged Hideous Zipplebacks are rather colorful and has many different patterns on its body. Its body is greyish green and their wings have three main colors:
- Blue with white spots
- Dark Green
There are a large amount of spikes added and their tail tip increased in size and are more of a diamond shape.
In the film, Hiccup learns from Toothless that most dragons hate eels enough to actually fear them and uses this against a Zippleback to scare it back into its den during dragon training. At the end of the movie, a Hideous Zippleback (eventually named Barf and Belch) is flown by Ruffnut and Tuffnut. Each head seems to agree with one twin.
The official website describes the Hideous Zippleback as follows:
- "Of all the dragons that inhabit our world, one of the most unusual and dangerous is the Hideous Zippleback. The Zippleback is one of the largest dragons you may ever encounter. It's unmistakable with its twin heads. The heads are distinct, with separate thoughts and different personalities. Like most dragons, Zipplebacks can fly, but their wings are small and they spend most of their time on the ground. Zipplebacks are solitary, preferring to hunt alone. They come out after sundown, prowling dark forests for victims. The attack of a Zippleback is like no other. Instead of breathing fire, a Zippleback makes explosions. One head BREATHES gas, and the other head lights it."
- "This two-headed threat is the longest dragon and has the smallest wings & stubbiest legs. But the way it produces fire makes up for any physical drawbacks. While one head shoots out a flammable gas, the other ignites it with a spark—allowing for attacks from long distances. “It is based more on a Siamese cat combined with a devious snakelike quality."
- In School of Dragons, Tuffnut said that only a Zippleback can light the gas on fire, and that a Nadder can't do that. But in the How to train you dragon 2, it was shown exactly the opposite - after Barf and Belch covered the traps with gas, Stormfly set it on fire.
- In Rise of Berk game, the Hideous Zippleback breathes gas from his left head, and sparks come from his right head. In every other media gas comes from right head, and spark from left head.
- Although the official website states that the Hideous Zippleback is not effective in flight because of its small wings, during the young Vikings' counterattack against the Red Death in the movie, it's shown that the Zippleback (Barf and Belch) is agile, fast, and effective at flying.
- It was believed that the Zippleback was unable to breathe gas and spark while in flight, but in the TV Series, Barf and Belch are seen to be more than capable to ignite and breathe gas without too much trouble.
- The Hideous Zippleback resembles Zmey Gorynych, the Slavic Dragon.
- The Hideous Zippleback's two heads working together is based on the proverb, "Two heads are better than one".
- It's shown in a training addition to How to Train your Dragon (film) that Hideous Zipplebacks (and other dragons) have a sense of humor; when a Hideous Zippleback attacks Ruff and Tuff while the two twins fight, the heads grin at each other as the twins continue to fight dangling from the Zippleback's mouths.
- According to the Rise of Berk mobile game, Zipplebacks have only one heart and thus, it is highly likely that they have only one set of internal organs, except for the brain.
- The dragon stats say that the Zippleback is non-venomous, but Fishlegs says otherwise, once commenting that its fangs can inject pre-digestive venom into its victims.
- The Zippleback's name is possibly derived from Zippo, a brand of lighter, which is fitting as one of the dragon's heads serves to light the gas produced by the other head. It could also be from zipper, as the dragon can link and unlink the spines on its neck and tail together.
- To train a Zippleback, you must feed both heads at once, then play with the dragon.
- Although this behavior was only seen once, when Barf and Belch approached Hiccup in the How to Train Your Dragon movie, they fanned out their wings, flapping them slightly and started aggressively hissing at him, which mimics the behavior of the Dilophosaurus in Jurassic Park when it fans out it's frill and growls to spit venom. This behavior is presumably done to make the Zippleback seem more menacing and larger than they appear. This display is never seen again.
- Zipplebacks only need one rider in Wild Skies, How To Train Your Dragon video game and School of Dragons.
- In battles, Zipplebacks have the secret Ouroboros-like power to bite their own tails and set themselves on fire after spraying large amounts of gas, taking on the form of a flaming wheel that knocks down their opponents like ten-pins.
- Hideous Zipplebacks can reach 50-66ft long as shown from Barf & Belch in the Guide to the Dragon Book has stated.