Chimaeras are a widespread form of largely terrestrial magical beast, known from all six inhabited continents, as well as the Arctic Circle. Moreover, they arise in an immense variety of climates and terrain types, and there have even been (hotly debated) reports of antarctic chimaeras. Semi-aquatic or amphibious chimaeras are known to exist in appropriate environments, but evidence of wholly marine or aquatic forms is as yet uncorroborated. Individuals vary dramatically, but always consist of a combination of traits from three different animal species native to the area. Every chimaera thus far encountered has included a powerful predator as at least one of its base animals, though the other two component animals may vary dramatically. Mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are all known to be possible constitutents of a chimaera, while reports of wholly or partially insectoid (or arachnid) chimaeras remain unconfirmed. Despite the great diversity, the creatures seem to fall largely into one of two body plans: three heads at the front of a body mixing traits from all three species (which may or may not have a tail), or a single forward-facing head with the body of a second animal (sometimes combining traits), and a tail (often ending in another head). In the latter case, the tail nearly always takes the form of a venomous snake.
- The classic Greek chimaera, combining the features of a lion, a goat, and a snake
- The sewer chimaera of New York City, made up of a rat, a snapping turtle, and a feral cat
- Chimaeras in temperate North American forests typically manifest with the heads of a bear, a hawk, and a wolf.