Her head still remained that of a beautiful enchantress but her body is that of an animal which has the claws of a cat in its front legs and a cow’s cloven hooves at the back. Some ancient writings describe her with a serpentine lower body.
Lamia has once been the beautiful and happy daughter of King Belus, King of Libya and the secret lover of Zeus. Lamia bears many of his children but Zeus’ wife, the jealous Hera, manages to make all of the children die (except the terrible Scylla). Lamia took revenge of having lost her own offspring by destroying the children of others and behaved in such a cruel manner that she was changed into a monster. Hera also punished Lamia by forbidding her never to sleep. In return Zeus gave her the power to remove her eyes and put them back at will.
Lilith, the first wife of Adam and Hecate are both serpentine and child-sacrificing female demons and are sometimes confused with Lamia. Female monsters that sucked the blood of young men were called Lamies and Empuses.