The Bandersnatch is a fictional creature mentioned in Lewis Carroll's poems Jabberwocky and The Hunting of the Snark. The form or size of the creature is not described, nor is it clear whether Bandersnatch is singular, like the Phoenix.
The only description given of it in the “Jabberwocky” poem is that the hero should "shun the frumious Bandersnatch," this particular portmanteau being a concise way of describing the creature's fuming and furious nature. Other advice given to the beamish hero proving quite accurate, one must dismiss the possibility that the speaker within the poem was uninformed about the Bandersnatch, which, however, does not actually make an appearance in "Jabberwocky." Thus it is clear that the Bandersnatch is not of a size or character to be embraced. Elsewhere in Through the Looking-Glass, however, it is implied (but not stated) that a Bandersnatch is quick-moving, and that there may be more than one of it when the White King says: "She runs so fearfully quick. You might as well try to catch a Bandersnatch!"
It is not stated whether there are non-frumious Bandersnatches, or whether these can be approached safely, merely that the hero of the poem must shun a Bandersnatch that is frumious. At the same time, it may be that 'frumious' (a mix of the words "fuming" and "furious") is not a merely descriptive adjective, but a definitive one, describing the essential quality of the Bandersnatch.
Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark (Fit the Seventh) settles some of these questions: in an encounter with a bandersnatch it is described as moving swiftly, having a neck it can extend, and having snapping, frumious jaws, with which it tries to grab the Banker.
It is said that the bandersnatch lives in dense swamplands, and is an avid meat eater. The bandersnatch is known to have an appetite for particularly naughty children, and those who mock his existence. They are a very rare species of mammal, scarcely scattered across the globe in swamplands. Many people have proclaimed to having spotted the bandersnatch outside of its usual habitat, yet proof comes from unusual tracks found in dense forests. It is best to avoid going into these dense parts of the forest as to avoid contact with a bandersnatch.
In other media
The book A New Alice in the Old Wonderland, 1895, by Anna Matlack Richards, contains a broader description given of the Bandersnatch with the poem Bandersnatchy. In this poem another hero sets out to slay the frumious Bandersnatch so as to gain respect from his people against the hero who slew the Jabberwock (a story he would sit and tell till after ten o'clock). It is necessary to be armed with a vorpal sword or a winxy pistol, because one never can tell what a Bandersnatch might do. According to the hero, the Bandersnatch is a queer thing that whizzles overhead causing him to believe it is up a tree, only to his surprise its legs are awfully high. It pleads the hero not to shoot only to fool him and fly away. The hero grabs its tail and cuts it off as his trophy. The hero describes the creature as being extremely long legged with a long tail as well and the ability to fly extremely fast. It could be understood that the Bandersnatch perhaps camouflages itself as a tree, given the explanation understood by the hero's description. There is an illustration by the author's daughter, Anna Richards Brewster, of the hero's encounter with the Bandersnatch.
In the book Sign of Chaos, part of Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber, the protagonist encounters a Bandersnatch. The creature is described as segmented, with a side-to-side gait, leaving a trail of steaming saliva, and hissing like a leaky pressure cooker. The Bandersnatch suffered a heart-attack after having a cardiac arrest spell cast on it, implying that its general anatomy is analogous to normal animals.
In the Known Space novels by Larry Niven, there is a heavy-gravity species somewhat resembling a giant slug, which upon their discovery were immediately given the genus and species "Frumious bandersnatch."
The video game Resident Evil Code: Veronica features the commonly found enemy type "Bandersnatch". It is depicted as a yellowish, large-sized, bipedal creature possessing massive strength and as being one-armed (their one arm being extendable and using it as a long-range weapon).
"Bandersnatch" is a name used many times in the Final Fantasy video game series. The name is given to various enemies in many installments of the game in both the Japanese and English-language versions. In most of the games, it is a common enemy that does not prove much difficulty for the player, and it usually has qualities of wolves or lions in appearance. In Final Fantasy IX, however, the Bandersnatch is a slightly stronger enemy with a strange appearance that seems to be a large demonic poodle with a large, toothy grin. It is summoned by the antagonists during an important story scene in the game.
In the massive multiple online role playing games "Mabinogi" and "Latale", the Bandersnatch makes an appearance. In Mabinogi, a Bandersnatch is an ice monster located in "Par Dungeon." A normal Bandersnatch can only be killed with one of the fire spells, or a giant's stomp ability, due to their high defense. The Giant Bandersnatch can be killed as a normal monster, and is the boss of the dungeon. Both normal and giant Bandersnatch move slowly and will not normally attack unless first hit is activated. In Latale, the Bandersnatch is a dog like creature with strange markings and a massive jaw. It's an auto-aggressive monster that either lunges at the player or headbutts when its close to the player. It can be found in the first two rooms of the Treasure Vault Instance or King's Room.
In the 2010 film Alice in Wonderland, the Bandersnatch inexplicably appears as a large, white beast with qualities of a bulldog in appearance along with black spots, a long tail, and multiple rows of sharp teeth. It is a creature under the control of the Red Queen until Alice returns its eye, which it had lost to a dormouse. It helps the girl escape and joins the White Queen's forces. In the video game adaptation of the film, it serves a similar role and is also the first boss battle.
In a recent chapter of Pandora Hearts, Lily's chain is a black big dog, by the name Bandersantch, who kills Reim's colleagues.
In the Nightcrawler (comics) limited series Lockheed (comics) is repeatedly mistaken for a "frumious bandersnatch"
- Jaberwocky Definitions
- The preface of "The Hunting of the Snark" by Lewis Carroll