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Mimics were created as a lethal protection against looters. They are indistinguishable from normal chests until opened.
Using an Identify Scroll will let you know whether a chest is a mimic or not.
The fight against one mimic is a one enemy fight.
Mimics will occasionally use an ability called Chomp. If successful, this attack will destroy a random item belonging to the targeted character. Even is defeated, the item cannot be reclaimed (as is the case with Cutpurses, for example).
Mimics have been a Dungeon Master's favorite, first appearing in the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role playing game back in 1974. Basically a creature hiding as a chest, waiting for the unsuspecting adventurer.
If a Mimic steals from you, you cannot reclaim your stolen items unlike with other thieves.
When a Mimic is killed it drops loot that you can find in an normal, non-carnivorous chest.