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Alignment Neutral
Type Magical beast
Image image
Stats Open Game License stats
Publication history
Source books Monster Manual

An ankheg (/ˈæŋkɛɡ/ ANG-keg),[1] also spelled anhkheg,[2] is a type of fictional monster in the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game. An ankheg is described as a monstrous arthropod magical beast. The ahnkheg was created by artist Erol Otus and first appeared in Dragon magazine in 1977. The ankheg appeared soon after in the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game's original Monster Manual sourcebook, and subsequently appeared in the game's second edition, third edition, and fourth edition.

Publication history[edit]

Erol Otus originally named the creature the "anhkheg" and submitted the first artwork and writeup of it prior to joining TSR.[3] This first version appeared in the "Creature Features" column in Dragon #5 (March 1977).[4]

The ankheg appeared in the first edition in the original Monster Manual (1977).[2] The creature was detailed in "The Ecology of the Ahnkheg" in Dragon #117 (January 1987).[5]

The ankheg appeared in the second edition in Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[6] which was reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[7]

The ankheg appeared in the third edition in the Monster Manual (2000),[8] and then in the revised 3.5 Monster Manual (2003).

The ankheg appeared in the fourth edition in Monster Manual 2 (2009).

Physical description[edit]

An ankheg is described as having six legs and a many-segmented body, all covered in a brown (some closer to yellow) chitinous exoskeleton. The head has black compound eyes, mandibles capable of snapping small trees, and antennae. Usually, ankhegs do not create tunnels, and simply burrow down into the ground. However, they are able to make tunnels if they dig slowly. When seriously pressed, it can spit acid. Spitting acid is usually a last resort, as it cannot digest food for several hours afterwards. Ankhegs are around 10 feet long and weigh 800 lb.[8]


The ankheg appeared in D&D Miniatures: Underdark #30 (2005).

Ankhegs can be found in the role-playing video games Pool of Radiance, Baldur's Gate, and Gateway to the Savage Frontier,[9] all set in the Forgotten Realms. In Baldur's gate, players can collect their shells and make a suit of armor with them.


  1. ^ Mentzer, Frank. "Ay pronunseeAY shun gyd" Dragon #93 (TSR, 1985)
  2. ^ a b Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  3. ^ An interview with fantasy artist Erol Otus
  4. ^ Otus, Erol. "Creature Features." Dragon #5 (TSR, 1977)
  5. ^ Feil, Mark. "Ecology of the Ankheg." Dragon #117 (TSR, 1987)
  6. ^ Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (TSR, 1989)
  7. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  8. ^ a b Williams, Skip, Jonathan Tweet, and Monte Cook. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  9. ^ Computer Gaming World, Issue #88, pages 84-86

External links[edit]