"Malice-striker." The serpent-like creature that gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil, according to Grímnismál. It is one of a number of animals that live in and around the world-tree. The squirrel Ratatoskr carries messages from the giant eagle perched in the topmost branches to Níðhöggr at the root. Snorri Sturluson in Gylfaginning adds that the squirrel runs in both directions and that these are messages of hate. He further specifies that Níðhöggr gnaws on the tree's third root, the standing over Niflheimr, and that it is one of the numerous serpents that live in Hvergelmir.

In Völuspá, stanza 43, the serpent is described as sucking the blood from the corpses of the dead on Náströnd in Hel. In the poem's last stanza it comes flying out of Niðafjöll:

There comes the dark
dragon flying from beneath,
the glistening serpent,
from Nida-fells.
On his wings bears Nidhögg,
flying o'er the plain,
a corpse.

Níðhöggr is also found as a heiti, or poetic term, for "serpent" and even as the name of a sword.



  • Grímnismál, 32, 35.
  • Gunnars slagr, 16, 20, 21.
  • Gylfaginning, 15, 16.
  • Völuspá, 43, 65.