Their bodies were covered in a musky-smelling mucus which acted as a natural defense, and sported a mouth with upturned corners giving the illusion of a smile. Their eyes were red and glowed when in a state of happiness or excitement. They were herbivores that fed mainly on algae and decomposing plant matter. Nebries never stopped eating, and continued growing throughout their lives. Their lifespans were relatively short, though they compensated by being prodigious breeders. Young Nebrie hatched from eggs and were born toothless.
The Podlings considered the Nebrie their totem animals, and domesticated them for their dairy products, prizing their milk in particular, from which they made cheese. They would also eat their meat and use their oil in cooking, but only after the animals died of natural causes, as killing was taboo in Podling culture. The actions of the Nebrie were also significant, as the Podlings would interpret auguries from them.
While Nebrie were not actively raised by the Gelfling, they still bore some economic and cultural importance to them. The Stonewood used Nebrie milk as a medicine to cure Two-Eyed Stickler poisoning. The Sifa used leftover fermented Nebrie oil to coat the undersides of their ships in order to prevent Three-Eyed Crudder infestations, and frequently shipped Nebrie eggs. Members of the Order of Lesser Service would help Podlings raise baby Nebrie, whose teeth had yet to grow, by chewing food and spitting it in their mouths. To be likened to a Nebrie held multiple connotations, indicating both someone methodical and easygoing, or just slow. The term "flat-footed Nebrie" indicated someone unable to win races, while being likened to a "happy Nebrie" meant someone who was as happy as could be.
The Skeksis had little use for living Nebrie, slaughtering them for their meat, which was served roasted, and their skins, which they used for parchment, though the material was not durable. At the height of his paranoia, skekUng considered wiping out all life on Thra with the exception of Nebrie, which he intended to raise in the catacombs of the Castle of the Crystal as a renewable food source.
- Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. 88, ISBN 1683838211
- Walton, M. (2020), Dream-Seeking: Quizzes, Trivia, and Adventure (Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal), Penguin Young Readers Licences, p. 58, ISBN 0593095405
- – Erman, Matthew., Age of Resistance – The Journey into the Mondo Levidian, #9, Archaia, USA, July 2020
- "What Was Sundered and Undone" The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Netflix. August 30, 2019
- Froud, B. & Llewellyn, J. J., (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. pp. 46-47. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
- Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. 149, ISBN 1683838211
- Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. 136, ISBN 1683838211
- Age of Resistance – "End. Begin. All the Same.". Netflix. August 30, 2019
- Henson, J. & Oz, F. (dir.); Henson, J., Kurtz, G. & Lazer, D. (prod.); Henson, J. & Odell, D. (writ.) (December 17, 1982). The Dark Crystal (Motion picture). New York City, NY: Jim Henson Productions.
- Froud, B. & Llewellyn, J. J., (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. p. 109. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
- Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston . ISBN 0030624363