Reptiles Are Abhorrent

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Just once, we'd like to see an evil terrorist organization with a fluffy hamster motif.

Reptiles Are Abhorrent refers to the association between reptiles and villainy. This trope manifests itself in several basic ways. The simplest is to have reptiles that are consistently villainous. In animal stories, villains might be anthropomorphic versions of Real Life reptiles, while the heroes are cute mammals and birds. In Speculative Fiction, they might be fantastic beings such as Lizard Folk, Snake People or Reptilian aliens.

Even when the bad guys are not actual reptiles, they may have some sort of reptilian theme. Perhaps they are an Animal-Themed Superbeing with reptile-related powers. The villain might have reptilian pets and/or exhibit a special empathy with reptiles. They may even be able to turn into giant snakes. Even if they have no special powers related to reptiles, they might use reptile related Animal Motifs and/or Theme Naming. The trope even turns up, if only by metaphor, in non-fiction; saying that someone is "a snake" or "cold blooded" is enough to get across that you're dealing with a horrible character.

This trope is generally not applied with equal frequency and intensity to all reptiles. Snakes (especially venomous ones) and crocodiles tend to be the reptiles most associated with villains. Meanwhile, turtles and various lizards seen as cute and harmless, such as geckos and frilled lizards, are less likely to be associated with villainy. Dinosaurs are also often exempt from this trope. Stereotypically reptilian features such as fangs, claws, tails, visible scales, and slit pupils may distinguish villainous reptiles from friendly ones.

Despite not even being closely related to them, Amphibians sometimes are portrayed this way too. Toads in particular have become heavily correlated with abhorrence due to their poisonous secretions, association with witches, and the myth that touching one will give you warts. However, there are many favorable depictions of frogs in fiction.

This is not a character trope. It is a pattern only visible when looking at an entire cast of characters. Merely having a few bad reptiles among a majority of good reptiles does not invoke this trope. When the only reptilian character in a work or the majority of the reptile-themed characters are bad guys, this trope is in play. This trope does not require that reptiles be Exclusively Evil—there may be a few token good reptilians within a race of mostly evil reptiles as an example of My Species Doth Protest Too Much.

Sometimes the trope in invoked in-universe. Characters may assume that reptiles are more likely to be evil, whether or not it's justified. In these cases you may have Reptiles Are Abhorrent crossed with Fantastic Racism.

If the expectation of reptiles being evil is set up and then overturned, the trope is being subverted. See Reptiles Are Abhorrent/Playing With.

All of the various killer snake/crocodile/komodo/whatever other reptile movies and stories thrive on this trope.

Reptiles Are Abhorrent is fairly consistent, but it's far from omnipresent, so do not list aversions. Do not list subversions unless they actually invoke this trope.

See also What Measure Is a Non-Cute?, Never Smile At a Crocodile, Scaled Up, and Fangs Are Evil. Compare Cats Are Mean and You Dirty Rat. Contrast with Turtle Power and Everything's Better with Dinosaurs. This is also closely related to Species-Coded for Your Convenience.

No real life examples, please; just because this is a common "hat" for reptilian races doesn't make it true.

Examples of Reptiles Are Abhorrent include:


Anime and Manga

  • The anime Queen's Blade has a snake doing nasty things to one of the main characters.
  • In the Kero Kero Chime anime, the snakes and hebizoku (snake tribe) are introduced as villains counter to the frogs and kaeruzoku (frog tribe).
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico, the Earth government refers to its enemies in the war as "Jovian Lizards" because of this trope, even though they only send Mecha-Mooks into battle so most people don't actually know what they look like. In fact, they're actually humans.
  • The first set of baddies in Getter Robo was the evil Dinosaur Empire, who were, well... dinosaurs.
  • The Pokémon anime features several, but the most prominent is the Ekans (later Arbok) owned by Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Jessie of Team Rocket. And later she comes into ownership of a Seviper, yet another snake Pokémon.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! anime includes a set of Reptile monsters, but their only major appearance was in GX while being used by Professor Viper. Ganzley, Corrupt Corporate Executive and Big Bad of The Big Five uses a Reptile deck that focusses on locking down his opponent's cards. Dinosaurs, however, appear on both sides.
  • While the main characters of Keroro Gunsou are mostly alien frogs, there is an antagonistic enemy race of humanoid cobras known as Vipers.
  • Orochimaru from Naruto is very snake-like himself, with slit pupil eyes, a very long (read: creepy) tongue, ability to stretch his neck and other body parts like Mr. Fantastic, and uses a round of snake-based jutsu. His replacement Kabuto, who has integrated bits of Orochimaru's genes into himself has taken this up a notch with blatantly reptilian features, a cobra-like hood similar to Medusa's, and a giant snake "familiar" that appears to be his tail.
  • Soul Eater has Medusa. She's an Ax Crazy Mad Scientist with an emphasis on madness.
  • One Piece has the animal-themed Seven Warlords of the Sea, which usually play as villains. You have Sir Crocodile, Gecko Moria, and Boa Hancock, who is a horrible person but at least is very kind to the protagonist.
  • Eyeshield 21 has the Zokugaku Chameleons, with their linebacker, Habishira, having long arms like a chameleon's tongue. The much tougher, Affably Evil Hakushuu Dinosaurs are another example.
  • It isn't quite clear how Hayate the Combat Butler feels about this trope. Machina's alternate form (seems to be) a giant snake, and his first acts include nearly killing the main character and acting like an all-around bad guy. But as of Ch. 255-ish, he starts being more than friendly with the heroes, even (jokingly?) asking Maria to marry him for her (and Sakuya's) hamburger-making skills.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn most of the Arcobaleno have cute mammals or birds as their pets. What do the greedy Viper and Mad Scientist Verde get? A snake and an alligator, respectively.
  • Bleach: As if Rukia hadn't made the connection several hundred chapters back, Ichimaru Gin himself gave this little monologue in Chapter 414.
  • In Wild Rock, a giant prehistoric alligator nearly eats Yuuen.
  • The infamous snake scene from the anime adaptation of Takashi Yanase's Chirin no Suzu, which has a green snake breaking every bone in a bluebird's body rather than eating as it would in real life before going on to her eggs. Chirin manages to put an end to this, though.

Comic Books

  • The DCU and DCAU:
    • When The Legion of Super Heroes comic began rebooting the characters as more alien and/or more racially diverse, they redesigned Projectra as coming from a race of sentient snakes, making her a rare heroic example in comics. She does state that she has run into prejudice before, and this is given as the reason she appears to strangers initially in a 'normal' appearance. (She was later mutated into a slightly more humanoid form and slipped into a mild Heroic BSOD due to horror at her appearance.)
    • Green Lantern Isamot Kol the alien space cop lizard-man is a good guy, but Ophidian the Orange Entity, the living embodiment of temptation and selfishness, takes the form of a giant snake.
    • Kobra is a terrorist cult who uses a snake motif for their criminal activities. They later appeared as a cult in Batman Beyond. In their most notorious story, from "Batman Beyond", a few of them transformed themselves into snake people with the help of Splicer technology and... dinosaur DNA... And then they were going to throw a "Thermal Bomb" down a volcano (!?) to raise the temperature of the world (they are, of course, "cold blooded"), Kill All Humans, and take over the planet. Yeah.
    • The Checkmate arc plays with this trope. After the Rooks take out a major Kobra base they find a large nest of baby snake people. The Rooks decide to raise them.
    • The Snake-people in the DC Animated Universe wanted to Kill All Humans.
    • There are yet more snake-men in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Chaos at the Earth's Core". As with their fellow DCAU snakemen, they're involved with hilariously (depending on your point of view) inaccurate dinosaurs and wish to Kill All Humans...
    • Killer Croc, one of Batman's most brutal enemies depending on who's writing for him, is a man with a bizarre skin condition that gives him the appearance and toughness of a crocodile. He has Crocodile-like habits in Batman: The Animated Series as well. Although there's at least one continuity where he gets to go off and live in peace with Swamp Thing. Croc also sometimes appoints himself protector of sewer-dwelling homeless and runaways.
      • Later depictions of him have him behaving much more beast-like than before (he has grown a freakin' tail), due to a virus injected in him by Hush; now he's often engaging in cannibalism.
      • This is lampshaded in a backup story in Legends of the Dark Knight, where he realizes that as he's becoming stronger and tougher the more animalistic he gets, he's also losing his humanity. He kidnaps a scientist to try and reverse the changes, but when she reveals that there is no way, he loses what little self control he had left and eats her.
    • Copperhead is another Batman villain who started out with a special suit that gave him snake-like flexibility and was later mutated into an actual snake-man. The snakeman version (with a silly snake-hat) appeared as a reoccurring enemy of the Justice League and a similar character was a one-off villain in Batman Beyond.
    • Turtle Man is a rare example of a mean turtle. He's "the Slowest Man Alive" and is a minor enemy of The Flash. He was originally a joke villain, but later became a credible threat when he gained the power to drain speed from other objects, including the Flash himself. (He's still pretty silly, though.)
    • The tommy-gun-toting alien alligator-men from the planet Punkus who fought Captain Marvel as part of the Monster Society of Evil. No, seriously.
    • Sobek the crocodile man from 52, who turns out to be the vessel of an Eldritch Abomination that hails from Apokolips that embodies famine.
  • The Marvel Universe:
    • In Spider-Man, Curt Connors's experiment to help people with missing limbs, like himself, caused him to transform into The Lizard, a monstrous reptile who detests all "warm-blooded" life (though it probably goes without saying that he doesn't like spiders either). In the well-loved '90s cartoon, he looked a great deal like a giant, very anthropomorphic Anole.
      • Komodo, who might count as a Distaff Counterpart of The Lizard, manages to be a subversion. She was Connors's lab assistant and stole some of the formula that turned Connors into the Lizard, perfected it (for herself, anyways) and used it to grow new legs. Even though the use of said legs requires she stay in her reptile form, she's still able to change back and forth (though being human means her legs go away), and in reptile form she suffers no desire to Kill All Humans.
      • The latest revamp of Connors gives him the ability to activate the "lizard brain" of humans , encouraging them to act like reptiles. Apparently lizards are really sexually aggressive and mindlessly violent towards their own kind. Who knew?
    • The Serpent Society is a whole brigade of snake-themed villains - some actually reptilian, others who just like the fashion statement - who are intertwined with the ancient evil artifact of eldritch reptile gods, the Serpent Crown.
    • Viper is yet another snake-thematic villain.
    • Played straight with the males of the Brotherhood of the Badoon. Somehow, though, the females of the race are neither reptilian nor evil.
  • A lot of Jungle Princess comics have our heroines fighting savage snakes and carnivorous crocodiles.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Lord Hebi, a giant snake and the only non-mammal recurring character, is The Dragon of Lord Hikiji, who's stuck as The Faceless since the author regretted making him a human.
  • The Lizard League, Invincible's Alternate Company Equivalent to the Serpent Society.
  • Teknophage from Mr. Hero: The Newmatic Man is an obvious one. A Magnificent Bastard, as well as Chessmaster as the ruler of many multiverses, including his home planet Kalighoul.
  • Alison Bechdel's Fun Home mentions how unsettling snakes are, and somewhat rhetorically suggests that this is because they are a strange mix of masculinity and femininity.


  • In Alligator, cute baby gator Raymond is flushed into Chicago's sewers and starts chowing down on pet corpses spiked with experimental growth hormone; so he isn't really mean, just hungry. Notable for being among the first of many, many Jaws rip-offs—and for being one of the best.
  • The first Anaconda film, just in case the audience isn't already unsettled by gigantic snakes trying to eat people, asserts that anacondas will regurgitate their still-living prey after swallowing them, just for the malicious pleasure of eating them again. This happens to the main antagonist of the first film.
  • Snakes on a Plane had snakes as the designated villains, and in this case they were riled up by a spray of pheromones. It gets to the point that Samuel L. Jackson has had it with these motherfuckin' snakes on this motherfuckin' plane.
  • In the excellently titled Ssssssss, the Mad Scientist in the movie didn't mind snakes. As a matter of fact, he turned people into snakes for fun. The people in question didn't share his enthusiasm.
  • They aren't reptiles, but while we're on the subject of horror movies that assume we think crawling, scaly, swamp-dwelling animals are inherently scary: Frogs. Yes, Frogs. (And the frogs in question aren't the poisonous or gigantic variety, either.) Funny thing is, the frogs themselves don't do anything. They just stand around being ominous. All of the mayhem and murder is done by alligators, moccasins, snapping turtles, and anoles (the last lock a guy in a greenhouse and cause a chemical reaction that asphyxiates the guy with vapors).
  • In his original appearance, Godzilla was portrayed as a walking nuclear explosion, destroying everything in his path. In subsequent movies, however, he was depicted in a grayer light, and even became a hero at times.
  • The Very Loosely Based on a True Story Lake Placid has a giant, attacking, man-eating crocodile. This could be another case of Humans Are the Real Monsters, though—after all, he didn't ask to be abandoned in a freezing cold Maine lake, did he?
  • And in a case of Humans Are Stupid, Primeval stars SUV-sized "Serial killer" Gustav, whose large kill record is largely due to idiot fishermen and similarly idiot photographers and big-game hunters. However, it's at least more factually accurate than Lake Placid.
  • Reptilicus is a giant, man-eating lizard-dragon-thing.
  • Crocodile has... yeah.
  • Kill Bill's villain team, the Deadly Viper Assassin Squad, all had codenames based on lethally venomous snakes. The main character was given the name of the most deadly snake of them all, the black mamba, though she renounces the name and the team when she decides to go straight.
  • Q was about an evil version of Quetzalcoatl, the ancient Aztec feathered snake god. It's a fun movie, but it's also ridiculously Sadly Mythtaken.
  • Dreamscape featured a little boy who suffered from nightmares about The Snake Man. The villain of the piece took on the hero by turning himself into The Snake Man.
  • Zathura A Space Adventure (which is basically Jumanji IN SPACE!) gives us the villainous Zorgons, reptilian aliens who are attracted to heat sources.
  • The original Star Wars films have very few reptilian sentients. Most of them are in the Cantina on Mos Eisley. The only exception is Bossk, a rather vicious Trandoshan bounty hunter. General Grievous was a Kaleesh, a reptilian species that are in war with the Huk, a mantid-like species. The Huk were the Invaders, and Grievous was very noble back then. The prequels have some other reptilian species, but none in a prominent role.

"I'm addressing, of course, the vicious, bigoted pattern of lizard-hate in the culture, and in the media.
The Phantom Menace doesn't just contain one species-ist character, it slurs the entire reptilian phylum."

  • Played on in Enemy Mine, where humans are at war with a hated species of reptilian-like people called "Dracs."
  • In a "making of" documentary for The Film of the Book Eragon, one of the people in charge of designing Saphira said, "We decided first of all, to make Saphira the dragon more likable, so we made her look more like a lioness instead of a reptile."
  • In The Dark Crystal, the evil Skeksis look like lizards with some of the most repellent traits of vultures added for good measure. Their good-guy counterparts, the Mystics, have downplayed reptilian features and much more fur, giving them a softer and cuddlier appearance.
  • Indiana Jones when dumped into a snake-filled pit of doom:

"Why did it have to be SNAKES?!"

  • A Cold War-era instructional film warned of the dangers of Hostile Intelligence Services (HISS), portrayed as an animated Smug Snake with a Lzherusskie accent.
  • Although clearly scaleless and unrelated to any real-world organism, the monsters from the Tremors films and series (or just their tongues) are frequently described as resembling reptiles of one sort or another.
  • In a Conan the Barbarian film, the primary antagonist Thulsa Doom is the leader of a snake cult. He can turn into a giant snake and even uses one as an arrow.
  • Live and Let Die: Mr. Big/Dr. Kananga uses snakes to kill adversaries, either releasing one into their hotel room, or using one in an elaborate voodoo ceremony (pulled from a coffin full of snakes). Then there's his crocodile farm/heroin processing center.
  • Rattlesnake Jake and the corrupt Tortoise John in Rango.
  • In Race with the Devil, the cultists hide a pair of live rattlesnakes inside the heroes' RV.
  • Lampshaded in the film version of Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man, where Rod Steiger's character crushes a garter snake with a rock and feeds it to his dog. When another character asks why he did it, noting that garter snakes are harmless and good to have around, he angrily responds, "It ain't no good to anyone, it's a damn snake!"


  • The Snake in The Little Prince could certainly qualify. He gets a Villain Song, "A Snake in the Grass," in the 1974 movie version.
  • Redwall. While the mammals are split between being good or evil, pretty much every single reptile and amphibian is a bad guy. In the first book, a snake is given a demon's name (which it likes to chant for some reason) and likened to a giant, intelligent, evil dragon/monster. In one of the later books, a desert-dwelling character keeps a pet sand lizard; "Get 'em when they're young and they're good likkle critters." This was lampshaded hilariously by Something Awful, though it was in response more to the mustelids all being evil.
  • Rudyard Kipling's stories invoke the trope only when applied to venomous snakes and crocodiles.
    • In "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", a pet mongoose defends his masters' home against the deadly snakes that are everywhere.
    • In "Kaa's Hunting", the "poison people" are self-absorbed. The mad cobra in "The King's Ankus" seems somewhat insane, claiming that a jeweled inanimate object is "death" (and it turns out he's also outlived his poison), but turns out to be right.
    • Likewise, in "The Undertakers", the chief villain is a vain old crocodile called the Mugger,[1] who boasts of having attacked human women and children (but is less than thrilled to be reminded that a woman once drove him away by shooting at him).
  • Raymond E. Feist's novel A Darkness at Sethanon introduces the Panthathians, a race of snake-men who worship a race of evil Precursors that will destroy the world if ever freed. Naturally they are attempting to do exactly that.
  • Played straight and occasionally subverted in Harry Potter:
    • A snake is the mascot of Slytherin House, which was never an "evil" house, but has a bad reputation due to the many Death Eaters who were sorted there in their school days. The snake is used as an evil motif by the Death Eaters. The ability to speak Parseltongue (snake language) is said to be associated with Dark magic, worsening the snake's reputation even further.
    • There was also the basilisk, a huge snake that Harry fights at the end of the second book. It was Slytherin's pet back in the day, and he kept it hidden in the chamber in hope that his heir would release it and use it to drive Muggle-born wizards out of the school.
    • Nagini is essetially Voldemort's Right-Hand Snake and a partial Soul Jar.
    • Subverted with an actual boa constrictor in the first book, who seems genuinely pleasant and just wants to go to Brazil, where his particular species comes from.
  • This trope becomes Reptiles Are Stupid in Foster's Spellsinger series, in which reptiles are the only air-breathing vertebrates that aren't intelligent tool-users. Except for the turtles and dragons, which of course get an exemption on grounds of popular appeal.
  • Played with in the novel Chester Cricket's Home, a sequel to A Cricket In Times Square. One of the residents of Chester's meadow, a water snake named Walter, realizes that many humans find him horrifying, a fact that he takes an inordinate amount of pride in. However, Walter is actually quite friendly and funny, if a bit of a wise guy at times.
  • Subverted by David Eddings' Belgariad and Mallorean series. While the civilization most attuned to and appreciative of snakes, the Nyissans, are usually portrayed as a rather sinister, corrupt, and amoral people, eventually the chief eunuch Sadi becomes a rather amusing hero, and he brings his pet snake Zith, an intelligent, extremely lethal but extremely affectionate and endearing snake with almost cat-like habits. The only member of the party who doesn't take a shine to her is Silk, whose snake-phobia is more comical than rational. Zith's habit of curling up and sleeping in the bosom of Silk's love interest does not help this. Nor does how Silk finds out...
  • Gator Gumbo: The main character is an old alligator that can no longer catch prey. The other animals taunt him over this. In the end, he makes a batch of gumbo. The other animals refuse to help but want some. So they get get close enough and he sweeps them into the pot, cooks, and eats them. It probably qualifies as a Family-Unfriendly Aesop as well—Don't be a jerk and never underestimate old people or they will destroy you!
  • Similar to the Disney's Aladdin example, the Queen of Underland in The Silver Chair turns into a giant snake when she finally runs out of subtler options for killing the heroes. Prince Rillian is glad of this, because it meant he wouldn't have to kill a woman.
  • Debora Chester's Alien Chronicles series has the Viis, who resemble giant frilled lizards. They're a despotic race that has enslaved various mammalian races, with the only other reptilian species being their allies instead. When the mammalian races leave to find a utopia, not even their Viis underclass allies go with them, and what becomes of the turtle-people is never said. The web page for the series even invokes this trope.
  • In Clive Barker's Abarat series, despite the archipelago of Abarat being home to a host of wildly different creatures, Finnegan Hob is out to kill all dragons, even young ones, because one of them killed his bride. All dragons appearing on-page are unsympathetic (and ugly), while Hob is depicted sympathetically, and none of the other characters have a problem with him basically wanting to commit genocide of a sentient species. Notable in that this unnuanced portrayal of dragons is rare in modern fantasy.
  • In Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series, a pair of WWII destroyers slip sideways into a timeline where dinosaurs were never wiped out and humans never evolved. Instead two other intelligent races did, one mammalian, one reptilian. Guess who the bad guys are?
  • In his Pellucidar series, Edgar Rice Burroughs created two reptilian species: the Snake People Horibs who are villains right out of central casting, and the more nuanced Mahars who are telepathic, parthenogenic pterosaurs who start out ruling Pellucidar but are overthrown by the human hero. It later turned out that the Mahars -- who are deaf and communicate entirely by telepathy -- were unaware that humans were sapient.
  • Both used and inverted in Chess With A Dragon. On the one hand, the galaxy is populated by many dinosaur-derived alien races, any of which would be content to experiment on, enslave, and/or eat humans. On the other, mammalian races are an extremely rare fluke in this novel, hence most civilized species insist that Mammals Are Abhorrent.
  • In The Book of Night with Moon by Diane Duane, it is revealed that humans' association of reptiles with evil (in the Book of Genesis and elsewhere) is due to the lizard people choosing to align with the power of evil. Also, both feline mythology and cetacean mythology has Satan taking the form of a giant snake. The city of the sentient lizard people is a horrific World Half Empty which runs on systematic oppression and cannibalism. However, the victory of the heroes give the lizard people a chance to choose a better path, and the lizard Ith becomes a sympathetic character. By the second book, the lizard people are as moral and agreeable as any other species.
  • Harry Turtledove's books have The Race, which initially seem to be this trope perfectly personified, along with many other tropes related to villainy, but later they're revealed as being simply arrogant but chivalraic beings.
  • Robert E. Howard's stories of King Kull include the Serpent People, an ancient, pre-human species that survived the extinction of the dinosaurs. They were evil, dying out, yet determined to retake the world for their species. Among their magical talents was the ability to cast a glamour that made them seem human to observers. The illusion was so good in one story that Kull himself doubted (for all of a minute) his own existence. After which he killed the imposter. Death broke the spell, revealing the truth.
  • In Lovecraft's writing, reptiles are a frequent source of horror, most notably in The Nameless City.
  • In Korney Chukovsky's children story Stolen Sun, a crocodile swallows the sun (just go with it) and it takes a bear to tear him apart and release it.
  • Villain.Net plays with this one: upon encountering Chameleon, apprentice supervillain Jake Hunter presumes the reptilian shapeshifter to be a fellow evil-doer. He is quickly disabused of that notion. However, over the course of the first book, Chameleon shows himself to have a nasty edge, being perfectly willing to kill, and seeking revenge rather than justice.
  • Pretty much anytime a reptillian character shows up in one of Terry Brooks' books, you can expect raw evil (although Strabo is a noticeable exception). It's especially obvious with The Mwellrets, who are the only species in the Shannara universe that hasn't featured a heroic member. Indeed, one of them, Cree Bega, and his equally reptillian boss, The Morgawr, are the only characters in series who might qualify for Complete Monsterhood.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian novel The Hour of the Dragon, the priests of Set keep giant snakes.

The Cimmerian recoiled, remembering tales he had heard -- serpents were sacred to Set, god of Stygia, who men said was himself a serpent. Monsters such as this were kept in the temples of Set, and when they hungered, were allowed to crawl forth into the streets to take what prey they wished. Their ghastly feasts were considered a sacrifice to the scaly god.

  • Dark Heavens: "Some of my best friends are snakes."
  • This trope is discussed at some length in the Star Trek: Typhon Pact novel Seize the Fire. The book also plays with it when the reptilian Gorn show similar revulsion to mammals.

"Mammals. Why did it have to be mammals?"

  • Subverted, invoked, and reconstructed in Dreamsnake: Someone's violent phobia of snakes is what kicks off the Frontier Doctor heroine's troubles. And while she views her cobra and rattlesnake (which serve as her medical kit) as both pets and essential tools, not even she can find anything likable about the dangerous, ill-tempered, and downright ugly sand vipers.
  • Subverted in Andre Norton's Operation Time Search, when a young man from 20th Century America is flung back in time to the war between Atlantis and Mu, and is surprised, though he doesn't say it aloud, to find that his Murian hosts revere snakes. A nine-headed serpent motif is often used in jewelry—and the Emperor's crown.
  • Goblins in Artemis Fowl are a reptilian species of fairy. They're presented as extremely stupid and almost unversally prone to a criminal disposition. They are also the only fairy race with the ability to conjure fire.
  • In The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Quetzalcoatl is one of the more evil-aligned Elders (seriously, people need to stop making the nicest Aztec god evil just because he's the only one they've heard of) and a Komodo-dragon-like monster called a Nidhogg is summoned and nearly eats Scathach in the first book. Also, everyone's magical aura has a different smell, and one of the villains' auras smells like a snake.
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, the Friend to All Living Things Freckles makes an exception for snakes. Killing one was an important part of Face Your Fears for him, and the summer where they retreat to the swamp is nasty.


  • Ranger Rick, of all places, used this trope off and on:
    • Uncomfortably applied in one issue. There was a short story in which Rick and his gang help an Ocelot in the Everglades and are menaced by an alligator, who was explicitly described as a villain. This was jarring considering it was the only time an animal filled the antagonistic role; usually Humans Are Bastards (and even then, they staunchly used the Humans Are Misguided subtrope). Even worse? The very next issue Rick and co. head back to Florida to help... alligators.
    • Ranger Rick magazine also had a series of nonfiction books about animals and of those, one of the most beloved is The Unhuggables. It did all it could to discredit this trope (though it's telling that snakes get their own chapter to themselves) as well as Carnivores Are Mean and (as you could probably guess from the so-close-to-being-the-Trope Namer-title) What Measure Is a Non-Cute?.
  • An issue of New Scientist with a cover story about "Gaia's Evil Twin". The cover picture showed Gaia surrounded by "good nature"; green shoots, flowers, butterflies and doves, and Evil Gaia surrounded by "bad nature"; black roots, flies, carrion birds and of course, snakes. This did not reflect the actual story in any way.

Live-Action TV

  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: Enterprise introduces the Xindi, a set of related (somehow) species who each have evolved from a different species and yet are all at least vaguely humanoid. There's the (dolphin-like) Aquatics, human-like Primates, human-like (if hairier) Arborials, ant-like and scary-looking Insectoids, lizard-like and also scary-looking Reptilians, and the extinct and presumably birdlike Avians. You win no prizes for guessing which two species remained villains.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had the Cardassians, a very unpleasant race with distinctly reptilian features. The same can be said of the Hirogens in Star Trek: Voyager.
    • Chakotay has a speech about this in "Scorpion." Wary of Janeway's plan to forge an alliance with the Borg, he tells her a version of the first story listed in the Myth and Legend section, attributing it as ancient legend of his tribe.
    • Apart from a bare handful of Cardassians who thought My Species Doth Protest Too Much, the only exceptions were some background characters in the movies, revealing that The Federation does have turtle-people and lizard-people amongst its citizens; they just don't do anything. Maybe they need more sunlight?
  • V: The Sirians embody this trope, but more to the point, the show-makers rely on it working on the audience. When they first appear, they are disguised as humans, and the fact that they are actually reptiles hidden behind Latex Perfection is treated as a revelation just as horrifying as their attempt to enslave all of humanity.
  • Sesame Street intentionally avoids the trope, featuring friendly introductions to "scary" animals to assure the kids that they're not mean. There's a song about a friendly snake named Sammy. There is also one about an Alligator king and his seven sons; both song and alligators are pleasant.
  • Farscape:
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Subverted with the Unas. When first introduced, the lizard-like Unas are unquestionably evil. This is, of course, because the only ones encountered are possessed by the Exclusively Evil Goa'uld (who, of course, are referred to as "snakes" by several characters, though they're closer to eels). Later, the team finds un-possessed Unas, who are initially somewhat primitive and feral, but later show capacity for honor and other virtues.
    • However, there was also the first Big Bad, Apophis, whose Jaffa wore snake-themed armour, and he himself wore golden snake armour.
  • In the CSI: Miami episode "Identity," a sunbathing woman is killed and swallowed (but for some reason not digested) by a boa constrictor. Once again, this is more a case of Humans are Bastards, as the snake had been illegally imported and died soon thereafter.
  • The Sleestak were the worst sentient villains in Land of the Lost. And the other villains? Well, they subverted Everything's Better with Dinosaurs by being carnivores who chased the cast... except for Dopey.
  • The main Big Bads of Space Cases were the Spung, an Exclusively Evil (except for Elmira) race of bipedal reptiles.
  • Kamen Rider Ryuki has Kamen Rider Ohja, which means King of Snakes. And Oh how evil he is.
  • A brief scene in the Davy Crockett mini-series featured Davy up against a few alligators.
  • On the Animal Planet channel:
    • Blatantly invoked in a recent series, Fatal Attractions, during an episode about an animal hoarder who owned several Nile monitors and allowed them free reign of his apartment. The man died in his apartment and his body was discovered in a heavily decomposed state, with his pet lizards having fed upon the body. The show seemed to go out of its way to demonise the reptiles themselves (as well as the people who own them, painting them as egomaniacs who form no emotional bonds with their pets), with no shortage of re-enactments featuring close-up shots of plotting, shifty-eyed lizards filmed in a sinister monochrome. The show also hypothesised that the monitors deliberatedly envenomated their owner and waited around for him to die like Komodo Dragons, a hunting strategy which Komodo Dragons themselves are no longer believed to use, let alone Nile Monitors. It also perpetuated the myth that reptiles spread salmonella.[2] The show also neglected to mention the far more likely possibility that the man simply died and was scavenged upon by his starving pets.
    • A season two episode about pet crocodiles seems to have a very black-and-white issue on the subject. Crocodiles are depicted as either mindless cold-blooded killers or as intelligent beloved pets. There is, sadly, no middle ground stating that crocodiles are intelligent predators that should NEVER be kept as pets because of how dangerous they are, but that we shouldn't go about mindlessly killing them just because they're predators.
    • Man-Eating Super Snake, a recent Animal Planet documentary, indulges in blatant fearmongering based on the possibility that the feral Burmese Pythons and African Rock Pythons in the Everglades will breed and produce hybrids with the size of the former and the purported aggression of the latter. Not only is this premise utterly sensationalistic and like something out of a Syfy channel original movie, but Burmese and Rock Pythons have already been hybridized in captivity; "Burmrocks", as they are known, are no larger or more aggressive than their Burmese or African parents. In fact, they're actually quite docile, a trait they inherit from their Burmese parents, exactly the opposite of Animal Planet's "Man-Eating Super Snake".
  • In the episode of The Muppet Show starring James Coco, Kermit's nephew Robin was too afraid of snakes to go to bed. Kermit tried to show him the better side of snakes by having him envision beautful dancing snakes. It works for Robin but the appearance of the snakes unnerves poor Kermit. Snakes are major predators of frogs...
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer the Mayor's Evil Plan involved him turning into a gigantic snakey demon. Several other demons, such as the baby-eating Lurconis of "Band Candy", also had a snake-like appearance.
  • Triple subverted in the Bad Feng Shui episode of The Haunting Hour the Series which discusses this trope, and how it doesn't apply with Chinese folklore. However it ends up with a snakelike villain anyway. Until it's revealed he's more of a misguided Literal Genie, who thinks he's helping the protagonist.


  • The death metal band Nile get a lot of mileage out of this one, from serpents to crocodiles to the deliciously Lovecraftian "prehuman serpent volk" to TURNING INTO A SNAKE.
  • There's a Playground Song based upon a Shel Silverstein poem called "I'm Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor", which exploits the fear of a snake being able to eat a person.

Oh, heck! He's up to my neck!
Oh, dread! He's up to my *GULP*

  • "Ah don't like spiduhs an' snakes..."
  • The Church's unfair but rocking "Reptile" makes use of explicit Biblical symbolism.

And I should have believed Eve.
She said we had to blow.
She was the apple of my eye.
It wasn't long ago.

She splits herself wide open, to let the insects in
She leaves a trail of honey, to show me where she's been
She's got the blood of reptiles, just underneath her skin
Seeds of a thousand others, drip down from within

  • Many heavy metal bands ranging from Alice Cooper to Soundgarden to Symphony X use snakes as symbols of fear, and this translates to heavier music.
  • Paula Abdul: HE'S A COLD HEARTED SNAKE! Look into his eyes, he's been tellin' lies.
  • Something Wicked saga by Iced Earth has "Setians" fighting Ancient Astronauts. After which they chose long and pointlessly overcomplicated Revenge Before Reason and messed with those mammals from behind the curtain until The End of the World as We Know It.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • There's an old story (attributed to Aesop sometimes) about a woman (or a farmer) who finds a venomous snake shivering outside in the snow. It begs her to let it in so it does not freeze to death. She refuses, on the grounds that the snake will bite her and she'll die. The snake continues to plead, assuring her he will do no such thing, asking how he could possibly hurt the one who saved his life. So the kind hearted woman brings the snake in, and cuddles it to her breast by the fire. When the snake thaws out, it bites her anyway. As she lies dying, she asks the snake why he broke his word. The snake replies that it's just his nature; "Lady, you knew I was a snake when you let me in!"
    • This story survives even into the Old American South, starring kind-hearted Br'er Possum in place of the woman and Br'er Snake as himself. "You knowed I was a snake when you put me in yer pocket".
    • It was a popular song in 1968, sung by the great Al Wilson.
  • In Norse Mythology the mighty Midgard Serpent, Jormugandr, is the mortal enemy of Thor and spawn of Loki. There's also Nidhoggr, the serpent who munches on Yggdrassil The World Tree's roots.
  • In Sumerian myth, the world is made from the body of the primordial dragon-goddess Tiamat after she is killed by her much more human-like divine children. Also, the Trickster serpent steals the secret of eternal life from Gilgamesh.
  • Most mythology surrounding Dragons in most Western and Middle-Eastern cultures uses this trope; in fact, the medieval Western dragon or wyrm, a poison-spewing, slimy, fire-breathing, and/or virgin-munching abomination that spreads death and destruction wherever it goes and must be killed by a brave hero or outwitted by a clever, pure-hearted maiden, might well be the ultimate incarnation of this trope. Though their depiction has evolved over time, most early Western and Middle-Eastern dragons are basically just giant snakes, with or without embellisments like wings and horns.
  • Islamic tradition has it that getting up to slay a snake is one of very few permissible reasons to interrupt one's prayers. It's even attributed heroic value; those who have slain snakes may earn entry into Paradise. The large number of venomous snakes in the Middle-East is an obvious source for the sentiment.
  • Satan, the greatest evil in Christianity, appears to Eve in the form of a snake. He is also often called an "old snake" or a "dragon." A dragon mentioned in the Book of Revelation is most likely meant to be him.

New Media

  • The Weebls Stuff flash animation, Badger Badger Badger has its single moment of terror surrounding the snake, who does seem pretty harmless, really.

ARGH! Ack! It's a snake! A snake! Oh, no! It's a snake!

Newspaper Comics

  • The Crocs in Pearls Before Swine; their usual (and futile) goal is to eat Zebra while speaking in ludicrous accents and displaying eye-popping stupidity. The youngest one seems to be the least dedicated.

Professional Wrestling

  • Jake "The Snake" Roberts, whether in the WWF, WCW, or anywhere else, was generally portrayed as just as sleazy, slimy, and duplicitous as the reptiles he handled. He also loved to use his snakes to intimidate and/or humiliate his foes, and cleared the ring in at least one battle royal by letting loose an 8-foot boa constrictor and watching everybody scramble over the top rope trying to get away from it. (We'd love to know what the snake was thinking.)
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin also went by "The Rattlesnake," although it was because of his violent and unpredictable nature rather than because he was truly evil.
  • Then there's the Viper himself, Randy Orton.

Puppet Shows

Tabletop Games

  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! card game has several sets of Reptile-type monsters that either affirm or subvert this; the Venoms (evil corrupting snakes with Naga-like "gods"), Aliens (patterned off of the reptilian humanoid and Roswell Gray alien theories, but no official word on their allegiance), the Gagagigos (flip-flopped between evil and good, but now officially evil), and the Worms (Light-Attribute, but horrendously ugly, and the enemies of the Dark-Attribute Ally of Justice monsters.
  • In Magic: The Gathering snakes were originally depicted as nasty creatures with cards like Serpent Warrior, but more recently the Orochi were powerful and noble Proud Warrior Race Guys, if a bit hostile. However, Orochi are surely the least snake-like "snake men" ever illustrated: they have hair, breasts, four arms, two legs, and no tails, and their faces are mostly humanoid. Dragons have been in every alignment (including a genius dragon mad wizard scientist), but skew towards evil or violently, destructively instinct-driven. Reptiles may be simply animals, but aside from some Orochi there aren't many heroic reptiles, nor are many in White, the most community-driven, justice-oriented, or stereotypically "heroic" color.
  • One of the fictional series in Cartoon Action Hour, "Warriors of the Cosmos," has a evil snake-human in the form Serpentina, but of course, that tabletop kisses the mouth of 1980s cartoons very hard.
  • The Champions superhero RPG had the ubiquitous VIPER criminal organization as well as reptile-themed villains. One was King Cobra (formerly Dr. Timothy Blank), a Mad Scientist who discovered the Coil Gene, which mutates humans into super-powered reptilian creatures. He was his own first subject, of course. His goal is to turn every human in the world into reptiles... totally loyal to him, naturally. He's been a master villain in Champions for at least the last three editions of the game, probably longer.
  • In the Ani-Earth Animal Superheroes setting for Mutants and Masterminds, it is specifically stated that reptiles tend to be villains, with snakes as evil masterminds, lizards as mid-level bad guys and crocodilians as dumb mooks. Freedom City's Big Bad, Overshadow, becomes Cobrashadow.
  • In the Vampire: The Requiem sourcebook "Mythologies", one of the possibilities for the first vampire? The son (or daughter) of Eve, the First Woman... and The Serpent of Eden. The book includes several snake-based powers to apply to vampires to further imply that this might be true, including making snakes into default forms for the Protean discipline, it being easier to Ghoul snakes, and making vampires immune to snake venom (ordinarily, snake venoms—like most haemotoxins—work just fine on vampires).
  • Dungeons & Dragons mostly do without this - Lizardmen are crude savages, but not particularly malicious, troglodytes are also crude savages, but usually evil, nagas are spread over the whole alignment scale and have religion built around Balance Between Good and Evil, and there are no more mostly-evil reptile species than mostly-good.
    • ...and then there are Yuan-ti. Who manage to fill this niche all on their own, though with several different breeds that range from bloated abominations to human-like infiltrators. Whatever the case, these Snake People are usually Exclusively Evil and consider humans to be their Arch Enemies.


  • The Zyglak in Bionicle. There's also the Skakdi—a group of them (the Piraka) were collectively the Big Bad of the 2006 Story Arc, and one of their leaders (Nektann) briefly became The Dragon to overall series Big Bad Teridax during the 2010 arc. It is not uncommon for villains to get turned into snakes.
  • In the Beast Wars toys played the trope straight, usually. Dinosaurs, reptiles and arthropods where villainous Predacons. Interestingly fish, manta rays, sharks, and squid were Maximals. The main non-evil dinosaur was Dinobot, who abandoned the Predacons because he considered their leader incompetent, and ended up with the Maximals. He remained an only half-trusted anti-hero for much of the show, but got a Heroic Sacrifice towards the end.

Video Games

  • Mortal Kombat: Let's hear it for Reptile! He's so abhorrent, he doesn't even need an actual name. However, he's actually a subversion as he's a severe case of Type II Anti Villain; his whole goal was to prevent his race from becoming extinct, but his masters constantly screw over his goal. Doesn't help that Reptile's attitude is more or less a mentally deteriorating Yes-Man. Aside of him, there's also Khameleon, whose goal is to pull Reptile out of that service and repopulate the race together.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • The Donkey Kong Country has the apes saving their bananas from a gang of bullying crocodiles. Mind, the apes are also helped by a lot of other animals, including a friendly snake, so only the crocs really get this treatment.
    • In Donkey Kong 64, K. Lumsy is a Kremling (croc-like creature) that is locked up because he won't be mean and crush the "lovely little island, with lots of monkeys running around on it". He even (inadvertently) helps you move forward in the game.
  • Despite the villains, the Hierarchy, being The Greys, Universe At War still manages to pull this. What skin is exposed on the mostly-armored Grunts is visibly scaly if you get a good look at it, and the Brutes are something between The Greys and some sort of humanoid predatory reptile.
  • Metroid series:
  • Subverted in Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura; the lizard people in the game, the Bedokkan, are introduced as a barbaric, primitive people who have captured an elf; the most obvious solution is to kill them all. However, with a bit of negotiation, you find that the Bedokkan are a peaceful-ish tribe of indigenous people with a threatened homeland, albeit one that is made up of 9-foot tall magic lizards.
  • Star FOX 64, along with (ab)using several other Animal Stereotypes, plays this trope straight. One of the members of the evil rival group, Star Wolf, is a chameleon called "Leon". Not only that, but the boss characters for Corneria's secret path and Area 6 look reptilian in their avatars. (According to the manual, the lizards are the native species of Venom and were enslaved by the evil Andross and his simian scientists.)
  • In Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, the main Mooks are frilled lizards. In the second game, however, a frilled lizard is the cook for Bush Rescue, and responds to Ty's surprise at seeing him with "Not all lizards are bad, you know!"
  • From the Soul Calibur games:
    • Lizardman, who was once a Spartan warrior named Aeon Calcos, but was later taken in by the Fygul Cestemus cult (who also created the Golem Astaroth) and turned into a reptile.
    • While Aeon reclaims his human memories, he makes efforts to not be seen during travels and only attacks those that may hold clues to Soul Edge (or if its related to Hephaestus, which triggers his primal rage). However, the corruption slowly eats away at his mind, erasing all human memories and leaving only a primal instinct and bloodlust, regressing to his Brainwashed and Crazy persona seen in the first Calibur. The Mook variety (all humans as well) seems to suffer the same ordeal, though they were never freed from the brainwashing to begin with. By the time of 4, they all are back to their murderous rampages.
  • X-COM: UFO Defense has the Snakemen aliens, who are best known for the Chrysallids that accompany them.
  • Warcraft and World of Warcraft generally uses snakes as evil creatures, though sometimes they are treated neutrally:
    • The Druids of the Fang in the Wailing Caverns dungeon. They are a group of formerly beneficent druids corrupted by the Nightmare which is a manifestation of the will of the Old Gods within the Emerald Dream. Their totem animal, which all of them could transform into during combat, was a Viper. This was in addition to their hench-animals Deviate Vipers, Deviate Raptors, Deviate Alligators, etc. Oh, and their leaders' names were Lord Pythas, Lord Serpentis, Lord Cobrahn, and Lady Anacondra. The expanded universe paints them in a slightly better light but none of this is seen in-game.
    • Throughout the game, players also encounter winged snakes called wind serpents. These serpents are almost always hostile to the player.
    • The most obviously evil wind serpent is the father of them all, Hakkar the Soulflayer. Hakkar is either an offspring of or manifestation of the will of the Old Gods and corrupted the entire jungle troll nation and damn near destroyed it completely. His hobbies included eating the souls and drinking the blood of those captured by his troll followers or, baring that, his followers themselves.
    • The Naga are a powerful race of former elves transformed into snake-things by an Old God. Guess how friendly they are? Warcraft generally tries to show everyone except demons as being fairly morally neutral depending on what their leaders choose to do, but Naga get very few instances where they aren't being total jerks for the hell of it.
    • There're even more nasty snakes in the expanded universe.
    • The snake loa was never given the opportunity to do anything bad given what we see. The wind serpent loa is a rather nasty fellow, but not completely unjustified. He/she decides to spend his/her eternity as a now-incorporeal being torturing and murdering those who betrayed him over and over for shiggles. Then again, it does help you out, and they do sort of deserve it.
    • Trolls of all subraces in World of Warcraft are frequently shown to have deep connections to reptiles—subverting this trope, since trolls are no more inherently evil than other player-character races. Their racial mount is a small dinosaur, snakes are a common motif of troll architecture, and a troll vendor sells a variety of snake vanity pets. In Warcraft III, the troll Shadow Hunter hero unit summoned Serpent Wards. Trolls and tauren hold snakes to be somewhat sacred. For example, Arikara, the tauren avatar of vengeance, probably would have gone on to kill Magratha for being a complete backstabbing jerkass (the implication is she lies to you when she tells you who its target is).
  • Played mostly straight in the Crash Bandicoot series. While the human scientists were the scheming and callous baddies (invoking the Humans Are the Real Monsters trope, as well), the mutated minions were the ones just doing the direct dirty work and nothing more... Komodo Joe (a Komodo Dragon) and Dingodile did nasty things too:
    • Komodo Joe was said to run an illegal Cubic Zirconia fraud business, and the concepts released by the Crash Twinsanity developers showed that he would cheat Crash and Cortex out of Power Crystals while they ended up driving around a course in a car with no brakes.
    • In the same game, Dingodile ends up hearing about the alleged treasure of the Evil Twins from Crash and Cortex, secretly follows them, makes base in the boiler rooms of the Academy of Evil, and ends up blasting Cortex out of said rooms when Cortex won't reveal where the treasure is to him (which is more a case of Cortex not understanding what he's asking for, anyway). He does appear in the handheld versions as a lackey of Cortex in Crash of the Titans, but it does seem that Cortex trusts him a lot less.
  • The World Ends With You gives us Anguis and Draco Cantus, Megumi Kitaniji's Noise forms—a giant snake and a five-headed dragon, respectively. Fitting, considering his Jerkass nature. (And, incidentally, his fondness for snakeskin suits.)
  • Neverwinter Nights
    • Played straight in the original Neverwinter Nights, in which the Big Bad turns out to be the queen of a race of lizardmen hiding in a glorified magical bomb shelter.
    • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir, the Samarachans despise the yuan-ti, a race of snake-like beings. On several occasions, you end up having to fight yuan-ti. Subverted when you go to hunt down a yuan-ti and they turn out to be quite benevolent. You can create a yuan-ti for your party, and choose to make them not-evil.
  • In Jeanne D'Arc, the good guys are all mammalian (lions and dogs) while the bad guys are mostly reptilian.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Bangaa examples:
      • The Bangaa in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance are pretty cool guys, and have some incredibly Badass job abilities. However, the NPC Bangaa in the game are almost all soldiers and jailers in the employ of the evil government.
      • In Final Fantasy XII Vaan's adoptive father figure Migelo is a Bangaa. But, then you have Ba'gam'nan's all-Bangaa hit-squad after you. Tellingly they are common enemies while the cuter tribes Viera, Moogle, and Nu mou are not.
      • Bangaas are the race best integrated within the humes, hence why they're so common in the game. Contrast with the Seeqs who also appear as enemies and are treated like second-rate citizens.
    • Final Fantasy XI has a few different reptile and amphibian enemies, and none are on any peaceful terms (Half the time because people did something stupid):
      • The Lamiae are snake-women hybrids that routinely slay people and then raise the corpses to make an undead army.
      • The Mamool Ja are lizardmen who had once paid tribute to The Empire of Aht Urhgan, but have since tried to destroy it.
      • Poroggos are frogs that were able to walk due to magic, and actually were nice to the Tarutaru, thinking they were on good terms with the main races... too bad Windurst got scared of talking, magic-casting frogs and tried to kill them all. Now the Poroggos go around and hit adventurers with party-wiping magic.
      • Quadav are turtle beastmen who actually had a nice life and weren't very nasty. This, of course, all went to hell when Bastok started taking and destroying the Quadav's homes so that the Republic could get more resources. Now the Quadav attack pretty much anyone they see, defending their homes with extreme prejudice.
  • Any time Orochi shows up, and whatever form he takes, he's bound to be trouble. He seems to be attracted to Crisis Crossovers, as well. That's not to say that's all he shows up in...
  • Far more often than not, when they're not player-controlled, the Sakkra are usually quite ready to attack others, in the Master of Orion series. Not helped any by their tendency to have the "Repulsive" racial trait, which severely limits communication and gives a negative modifier to diplomatic relations. Basically, you can't live with them, and if you slacked off on building a big fleet you can't kill them.
  • In Contra Rebirth your enemies this time are the Neo Salamander Army trying to take over the Earth in the past and wipe out the Contra forces retroactively, but it's also subverted with Plissken, one of the unlockable allies in your game who's a blue Salamander and is also Colonel Salamander, the leader of the entire army who changed his evil ways and joined Contra to do good, or for revenge.
  • Terumi Yuuki, from BlazBlue: His drive is called "Ouroboros" and for the most part, is a set of snake-like chains that are thrown around to drastically increase his mobility which is also capable of inducing Mind Rape. His finishing move involves summoning a giant snake to consume the opponent.
  • City of Villains:
    • This game features an enemy group called the Snakes, based in Mercy Island. Unlike most enemy groups (which are at least humanoid), the Snakes are literally anthropomorphic snakes who worship a deity called Stheno and wish to reclaim Mercy Island for themselves. Arachnos ends up using them as a test for new Destined Ones to see if they really have what it takes to be a supervillain. They tend to view these Snakes more as pests than anything else...
    • ...Until you get to Operative Grillo's story arc in Grandville. You know those low level Snakes you stomped on as a newbie? Snakes not only have a racial name (The S'lisur,) they're also descended from an Incarnate, which makes every single S'lisur partially an Incarnate. As in "Physical Embodiment of a God" incarnate. And that Incarnate is still alive. And she's PISSED that you've been killing her kids.
    • Stheno is named after one of Medusa's unpleasant sisters in Greek Mythology.
  • Played back and forth in the EverQuest series. In the original, the reptilian Iksar are evil, but the amphibian Frogloks can be either good or evil. In Everquest II, the evil Frogloks have disappeared as a player character race, so they're now pure good, and the previously NPC Sarnak have become a PC Evil race... but the game also allows you to change from your starting alignment, so there are both good and evil Frogloks, Sarnak, and Iksar.
  • Age of Wonders has the Lizard Men and the Draconians. Both are portrayed as savage and believing in survival of the fittest, but their morality is neutral rather than evil.
  • While the Gorn in Star Trek doesn't play this Trope straight, the ones in Star Trek Online sure do, though it probably doesn't help that they've been conquered by the Klingons.
  • An interesting example is the iguana owned by acrobat/assassin/thief Eve in the little known Arcade fighting game The Outfoxies. He doesn't really do much that's abhorrent (or much at all other than serve as comic relief) and is in fact something of a Morality Pet for his owner, who is a thief and assassin willing to do anything to fund her lavish lifestyle, which makes him sort of abhorrent by proximity, unfortunately. He's absolutely adorable in her ending, though.
  • Bug!! has a stage named "Reptilia". A Shifting Sand Land filled with snakes (which were cannon fodder) and horned lizards (which were completely damn invincible). The boss: a giant horned lizard that would try to club Bug with its Epic Flail of a tongue. Thankfully, it was stupid enough to cause boulders to roll into two conveniently-placed catapults on its arena.
  • The krait in Guild Wars 2. They've got fans hating their guts from the previews. The fact that they nearly genocided the Actual Pacifist quaggan[3] is just the start.
  • Grovyle from Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky. Subverted halfway through the game, however, since he's really one of the good guys.
  • The Jazz Jackrabbit series all feature rabbits as the heroes and turtles and lizards as the villains.
  • The Reptids in The Last Story serve as The Usual Adversaries.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's; the first (and thus far, only) animatronic with a design based on a reptile is Montgomery Gator (in Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breech) and it is strongly hinted that he was evil even before being reprogrammed into a Brainwashed and Crazy pawn of the Big Bad, possibly having killed Bonney to take his place in the Pizzaplex's band.

Web Comics

  • In Terinu. The Galapados are gene-gineered reptile warriors designed to match humans for sheer agression.
  • WTF Comics is based on EverQuest, so most of the reptilian Iksars are hostile. Straha Ironscale, one of the protagonists, is a rare exception.
  • In one arc of The Wotch, Anne and Robin turn into a snake and dragon respectively through changing the dimension they're in.
  • Eerie Cuties has twin lizard boy bullies. And a nice girl Brooke Lynn who as a Melusine is sometimes considered scary by other students. She uses this intentionally on said bullies, but is mostly shy about it.
  • Played straight in Goblins by Takn, a sadistic kobold.
  • Played with in Prophecy of the Circle: since the main story is told from the perspective of the (mammalian) tikedi race, their rival race of tekk is generally pictured as menacing, murderous beasts. But the tekk are as sapient as the tikedi, and the tikedi themselves are regularly organizing hunts for tekk. Furthermore, some of the chapters follow tekk characters showing them in a more sympathetic light.

Web Original

  • The horror story We don't make good wives explains why one should never Mode Lock a shapeshifting snake woman, no matter how much of a Cute Monster Girl you think she is.
  • The Global Guardians PBEM Universe has not one, not two, not three, but four serpent-themed villain groups: the Serpent Society, the Viper Squad, the Venom Brotherhood, and finally the Cthonians, an ancient race of Snake People who predate humanity and want to bring back the rule of the Old Ones.
  • Both Tropes wikis refer to a certain type of villain as a Smug Snake.
  • In a Heroes webisode, one of the villains is a humanoid snake called the Constrictor.
  • In RWBY there is the King Taijitu, a monstrous two-headed duotone snake fought by Lie Ren in the Emerald Forest, said to lack (like all creatures of Grimm) even the rudimentary soul a "natural" animal possesses.

Western Animation

  • Extremely evident in The Get Along Gang. Some episodes had a turtle (of course) joining the Gang. The Cartoon Over-Analizations blog described him as "the Furry equivalent of a Token Minority".
  • G.I. Joe's Big Bad enemy is a terrorist organization called Cobra.
  • Bucky O Hare and The Toad Wars concerns an interplanetary war between the Toads and various mammalian species (of course). In one episode, a guy named Al Negator tries to get a job on Bucky's ship. As he's a shifty-looking reptile, the crew is generally suspicious. But Captain Bucky O'Hare hires him on anyway, making a big point of mentioning how he trusted the gunner Deadeye Duck, despite him being a pirate with somewhat questionable morals (and of course a duck). So it looks like a "beauty is on the inside" or "different doesn't mean bad" kind of Aesop... until Al betrays them, steals classified info, and sabotages the ship! So is the message "if they look evil, they are evil"?
  • The Swan Princess had evil alligators, and a heroic turtle.
  • Franchise/Transformers:
  • On Swat Kats, Dr. Viper is an Evilutionary Biologist villain and part snake. Of course, everyone on that show is an anthropomorphic cat, and he's part plant too; he's then, what, a quarter-human, quarter-cat, quarter-snake, quarter-plant?
  • Usually played straight in Class of the Titans, except for the God of Harmony, who is a giant pink snake.
  • Played straight in the Tale Spin two-parter episode For Whom the Bell Klangs: the reptile Klang is trying to find a legendary superweapon and Take Over the World. To make him even more abhorrent, he is revealed to be, not a crocodile/alligator as he appears, but a giant snake. Shocking, considering that the rest of the population of the world are bipedal, anthropomorphic animals.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Anthro alligator Leatherhead is a villain in the first cartoon; all other versions of the canon play him much more sympathetically, but he does tend to have a nasty temper control problem that can make him a threat even to his friends.
    • And obviously, TMNT makes exceptions for certain "cute" reptiles, given the nature of its titular characters. Reptilian anthros are mostly good guys. The cartoon is a bit shakier about this as noted above. Then again, Leatherhead the alligator may be more a case of Carnivores Are Mean; not to get too graphic but a turtle's shell doesn't work so well against those jaws...
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): Two fused villains use a time scepter to transport the turtles in separate time periods for revenge. Leonardo is dropped in Miyamoto Usagi's universe and is attacked by two animal riders because of this trope. Leonardo himself invokes this trope when battling the ruthless Daimyo, Lord Hebi, a giant snake: "It's guys like you that give us honorable reptiles a bad name!"
  • Baron Silas Greenback, Arch Enemy of Danger Mouse, is a toad with a penchant for Greed.
  • Tuff Puppy has Francisco the crocodile, a member of DOOM, and The Chameleon.
  • As Spike the baby dragon succumbs to greed in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, his reptilian traits become more and more exaggerated and his cute aspects recede. And then he turns into a purple Godzilla.

Disney Animated Canon

  • The Rescuers features an entire association of Rescue Aid mice, a friendly cat who sings about keeping faith, an extremely helpful dragonfly, and even a good turtle—but the alligators are the only mean animals in the movie. Huh.
    • The Rescuers Down Under feature a Punch Clock Villain Goanna who still liked to terrorize smaller animals, as well as a bunch of man-eating crocodiles. The frilled lizard (one of the cute species) is a good guy, however.
    • Tellingly, none of the mean reptiles in either of the movies talk. And the crocodilians of both films seem to be rather useful at being the method of a Karmic Death...
  • Robin Hood has the Punch Clock Villain Sir Hiss. Oddly enough, he's a goofy Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. Another villain is an axe wielding alligator. Two others are reptiles under the service of the Mammalian Prince John. The movie does feature a more sympathetic turtle: Toby, nerdy friend of Skippy Rabbit.
  • Kaa in The Jungle Book is another funny villain, but some viewers think he had definitely paedophiliac undertones to him ("Trussssst in me / Jussssst in me"). Note that in the book, Kaa was one of the main mentors for Mowgli. In the Disney adaptation, he was transformed into a villain.[4]
  • In Disney's Aladdin, Jafar uses of snake motifs throughout the movie, and when he wants to amp up the evil, he turns into a giant snake.
  • Fantasia has "Dance of the Hours", in which the ballet-dancing hippopotami, pachyderms and ostriches are interrupted by caped alligators. The alligators' leader is a romantic swashbuckler type, but the rest of them seem to be lechers.
  • The main characters in The Wuzzles were all obvious, easily identifiable Mix-and-Match Critters. Background characters were less-obvious mixes. But the thing is only the antagonists, Croc, Brat and Flizzard, sported any recognizably reptilian features. And aside from that, your guess is as good as ours what they were meant to be hybrids of. (Many fansites hold that they are, respectively, "half-crocodile/frog/lizard, half-dragon". Strange, given that all other Wuzzles were combinations of real animals.)
  • The Emperor's New Groove: Main villain Yzma uses her fair share of decorative snake motifs. Also, one of her Mooks was transformed into a lizard.
  • In Brandy and Mr. Whiskers, the villain is a dictator-esque gecko named Gaspar Le Gecko.
  • In Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers the one-shot-villain Sewer Nose is a deranged alligator who at least gains some sympathy points because he was driven nuts by being traumatized as a hatchling by being flushed down a toilet.
  • In The Princess and the Frog:
    • Some of the "Friends From the Other Side" take on snake forms. It's to be expected when your villain is Jafar reincarnated as a 1920s voodoo doctor.
    • Tiana and Naveen encounter a group of sinister gators that fit this trope to a T.
  • Since his adventures take place in the jungle, Tarzan gets into a lot of battles against crocodiles and snakes. In the spin-off cartoon, a huge snake named Hissa becomes the villain of one episode.
  • Two of the animals Mad Madam Mim turns into during the Wizard Duel from The Sword in the Stone are a crocodile and a rattlesnake, respectively. And then, there's also the dragon...

  1. although mugger/magar/makara is an actual word for a crocodile species in South Asia
  2. Reptiles are no more specifically prone to carrying salmonella than any other animal, and 95% of all reptile-related salmonella infections come from green iguanas and red-eared sliders, (both of which are species unsuited for but commonly kept by novices, and often in unsanitary housing conditions.)
  3. Almost, as they discovered that the reason quaggan survived so long is that they have a universal Super-Powered Evil Side
  4. There's a whole chapter in the seminal Doorstopper, The Illusion of Life in which the authors go on and on about how they struggled to make both Kaa and Sir Hiss "cute" so that they wouldn't scare the women in the audience.