According to legend, the Grootslang is a primordial creature as old as the world itself. Tales state that gods, new to the crafting of things, made a terrible mistake in the Grootslang's creation, and gave it tremendous strength, cunning, and intellect. Realizing their mistake, the gods split the Grootslang into separate creatures and thus created the first elephants and the first snakes. But one of the original Grootslangs escaped, and from this first sire all other Grootslangs were born. It is claimed to devour elephants by luring them into its cave. The cave is known as the "Wonder Hole" or the "Bottomless Pit". Supposedly, it connects to the sea which is 40 miles away. According to local legend, the cave is filled with diamonds. It is also said to live in warm rivers and lakes. In Benin, it is said to be a huge elephant-like creature with a serpent's tail. Also according to the tale, Grootslangs covet gems, particularly diamonds, and despite the creatures' lust for cruelty, victims can often bargain for their freedom by offering a Grootslang enough precious gems. While searching for treasure in the richtersveld of South Africa in 1917, English businessman Peter Grayson disappeared after members of his party were attacked and injured by lions, prompting legends that the Grootslang had killed him.
A Grootslang was featured in The Secret Saturdays episode "Something in the Water". It is depicted as a four-tusked green-skinned elephant with ram-like horns and a spiked snake-like tail. The Saturdays had to relocate a Grootslang away from settlements by baiting it with a large piece of pork.