In ancient myths, the Chimera was killed by Bellerophon on Pegasus when Bellerophon jammed a lead ball into its mouth. The ball melted, killing it with lead poison and suffocation. The original Chimera died long ago at the hands of the hero Bellerophon, though lesser Chimera still prowl the labyrinth of Crete.
While on the Quest for the Master Bolt, Percy Jackson was cornered by a fat lady and her pet Chihuahua at the top of the Gateway Arch. The lady constantly refers to her pet as "sonny" or "son" and it is only when Percy is forced to wait for a second elevator down, and left without the company of Grover Underwood and Annabeth Chase that he discovers that the fat lady really is Echidna, mother of all monsters.
The Chihuahua transforms into his true form, that of the Chimera, and attacks Percy. As Percy tries to defend himself and a few innocent bystanders with Riptide, he is outwitted by the creature and ultimately forced to dive out of the Gateway Arch (via a hole conveniently provided by the Chimera) into the Mississippi after being poisoned by the snake-headed tail.
The Chimera has the head of a lion, the body of a goat, a blood-caked mane, and a ten-foot-long diamondback snake-headed tail which grows out of its shaggy behind. The Chimera secretes deadly venom released through a bite and breathes fire. As a Chihuahua, he was seen wearing a rhinestone dog collar, which he still retained after transforming back into the Chimera.
When Bellerophon encountered the Chimera, it was about the size of a woolly mammoth. In the front, it had the head and forepaws of a lion. The back half of its body was scaly and reptilian, with dragon legs and a snaky tail that had a rattlesnake’s head at the tip. A goat head poked straight up from its back like a periscope, it can turn in almost a complete circle and spew hundred-foot-long columns of fire. Percy Jackson says that monsters often change appearance to explain the differences.
The Chimera has many powers including:
- It can breathe fire.
- Its snake-headed tail has venomous fangs and excretes a venom that is acidic.
- It is immensely strong.
- It has human intelligence.
- In The Lightning Thief film, the part where Percy and his friends encounter Chimera and Echidna was replaced with them fighting the Hydra at a replica of the Parthenon in Tennessee. According to screen writer Craig Titley, the part was in his original script draft for the film, but was replaced with the Hydra scene due to the Chimera being deemed "too weird looking", and thus being seen as "un-relatable and unbelievable in its looks for an audience to connect to". Chris Columbus came up with the idea to replace the Chimera with the Hydra, as it was a more iconic creature that would also seem realistic for an audience to connect to. It was also supposedly easier for the actors to react to while filming. The scene itself was also thought to be too expensive and difficult to film.
- The graphic novel depicted the Chimera as having horns of a goat instead a body.
- In The Lightning Thief, Echidna calls the Chimera her son. However, in most ancient myths, the Chimera was a female, along with the fact that her name means 'she-goat'. Though considering the fact that the lion's head of the Chimera is of a male lion, it's easy for people to make this mistake.
- Chimeras in botany are usually single organisms composed of two genetically different types of tissues. The word derived from the monster's name because of its several body part structure.
- In Paleontology, a Chimera is a fossil which was reconstructed with elements coming from more than a single species of animal.
- Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, Whatever It Is, Bellerophon Didn’t Do It