Reptiles Are Abhorrent
aka: Snakes Are Evil
"Reptiles are abhorrent because of their cold body, pale color, cartilaginous skeleton, filthy skin, fierce aspect, calculating eye, offensive smell, harsh voice, squalid habitation, and terrible venom; wherefore their Creator has not exerted his powers to make many of them."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," "lizard," or "cold blooded" is enough to get across that you're dealing with a nasty character. And any character named "Snake" or "The Viper" is generally a villain, a hardened criminal or at the very least a particularly cynical Anti-Hero. This trope is not applied with equal frequency and intensity to all reptiles. Snakes, crocodiles, and large lizards tend to be the reptiles most associated with villains. Meanwhile, turtles and small lizards like geckos, chameleons, frilled lizards and the like are seen as cute and harmless, and are less likely to be associated with villainy. Stereotypically reptilian features such as fangs, claws, tails, visible scales, and slit pupils may distinguish villainous reptiles from friendly ones, as does the use of venom. Amphibians often 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 Always Chaotic 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 by the majority of such characters, the trope is being subverted. See PlayingWith.Reptiles Are Abhorrent. Reptiles Are Abhorrent is fairly consistent, but it's far from omnipresent, so do not list aversions. Do not list subversions or unless they actually invoke this trope. Aside from Snakes, do not list aversions unless it is pointed out. There are enough non-abhorrent reptiles in fiction that it would be a waste of time and space to list them all. 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. This is also closely related to Good Animals, Evil Animals. Super Trope of Snakes Are Sinister
— Carl von Linné a.k.a. Carolus Linnaeus, Systema Naturae note
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Anime and Manga
- 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). This is subverted, though, in that the snakes and hebizoku are near-universally good people, and the hostility between the remaining kaeruzoku and hebizoku is entirely the result of a misunderstanding.
- Pokémon zigzags this trope. 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. Generally, all the fierce and threatening-looking reptile Pokémon take an antagonistic portrayal, whereas the cute ones tend to be on the good side, and if they have vicious-looking evolutions, they don't evolve. The main character currently has an adorable charming Snivy, but his rival has a mean-looking Servine (its evolution). Also strangely averted at the same time as the anime establishes very early on that Ekans is actually a Affably Evil Punch Clock Villain who is perfectly willing to be friendly, it's just his trainer that's a villain. Still counts since they're still technically villains but an interesting twist.
- 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 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 focuses on locking down his opponent's cards.
- While the main characters of Sgt. Frog 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. In fact, he is no longer really so much a human as a body-snatcher. His true form is a giant white snake made up of lots of little snakes. Apparently, years of evilutionary biology will turn you into a bizarre snake-demon. His replacement Kabuto, who has integrated bits of Orochimaru's genes into himself takes this up a notch with blatantly reptilian features, nictating eyelids, and a giant snake "familiar" that appears to be his tail.
- Soul Eater has Medusa. She's a Mad Scientist. With a heavy emphasis on the mad part.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Ultimate Muscle there's Shockodile (Pumpinator's Grandfather).
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd As has Nachtwal, the improperly programmed defense system whose addition to the Book of Darkness is the reason why it became an Artifact of Doom and Death. Its base physical manifestation is an indestructible mass of writhing black snakes capable of ensnaring and impaling mages, including the Wolkenritter and Reinforce.
- The early Sonic the Hedgehog manga plays this trope almost as straight as that show. In a school of who knows how many students, all of the students are good, aside from the school bullies: Anton the Lizard and his cohort (Mad/Matt, his pet/brother, no-one's actually sure).
- Kagerou Project plays with this one, as Azami and her descendants - all gorgon women - are treated like monsters because of this trope (in fact, the only instances of any of them using their magic to harm was in self-defence against human instigators), but they are all very nice people. On the flip-side, the series' Big Bad plays it straight, as he is the single one of Azami's snakes with sentience, and has successfully killed off the whole cast multiple times.
- 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, 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 "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 DCAU 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. 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? Komodo, who might count as a Distaff Counterpart of The Lizard, manages to be an exception. 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 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 Chess Master 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.
- Les Légendaires has Raptor the Green Shadow, a lizard-man working for the Big Bad and with Starscream tendencies.
- ElfQuest has Winnowill lovingly referred to as the 'Black Snake'. Rayek gets called this a few times as well.
Disney Animated Canon Examples
- The Rescuers features an association of Rescue Aid mice, a friendly cat who sings about keeping faith, an extremely helpful dragonfly, and a good turtle — but the alligators are the only mean animals in the movie. Huh. The Rescuers Down Under features 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 Elite Mook. 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. In the book, Kaa was one of the main mentors for Mowgli. In the Disney adaptation, he was transformed into a villain. note
- In Disney's Aladdin, Jafar uses 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 Emperors New Groove: Main villain Yzma uses her fair share of decorative snake motifs. Also, one of her Mooks was transformed into a lizard.
- 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...
- In "The Three Little Men in the Wood", a girl is punished by having a toad hop from her mouth every times she speaks.
And when she opened her mouth, and was about to tell her mother what had happened to her in the wood, with every word she said, a toad sprang out of her mouth, so that every one was seized with horror of her.
- In "Diamonds and Toads", a fairy punishes the wicked daughter so that toads and snakes fall out of her mouth with every word she speaks.
- In "Thumbelina", Thumbelina is threatened by an Arranged Marriage to an old toad.
- In The Brothers Grimm's "The Ungrateful Son", a man hides a roast chicken from his aged father, but when he takes it out again, it's become a toad which hops on his head, never comes off, and has to be fed every day or else it eats him.
- A toad in a well causes it to dry up in "Right Always Remains Right", "The Three Golden Hairs of Grandfather Allknow", and "The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs".
- In "Sleeping Beauty", the evil mother-in-law includes these in the pit to throw Sleeping Beauty and her children in.
she commanded next morning, by break of day (with a most horrible voice, which made everybody tremble), that they should bring into the middle of the great court a large tub, which she caused to be filled with toads, vipers, snakes, and all sorts of serpents in order to have thrown into it the Queen and her children, the clerk of the kitchen, his wife and maid;
Films — Non-Disney
- 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 human antagonist in the climax.
"You brought that snake... you brought the devil!"
- 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 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 Bastards, 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 (ostensibly) based on lethally venomous snakes.note 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: The Winged Serpent 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 (which is 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 at 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.
From the "Call Me MISTER Binks" article (Radio Free WYHTL):"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 in Raiders of the Lost Ark:
- 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 the 1982 Conan the Barbarian film, the primary antagonist Thulsa Doom is the leader of a snake cult. He can turn into a giant snake and 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.
- The Amazing Spider-Man has the Lizard as its main villain, who aims to mutate all of New York into reptiles.
- 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!"
- Komodo uses totally natural wild animals as big scary villains. Although the komodos are very much on the big side, and not just one, but all of them.
- There's a subplot in Hard Ticket to Hawaii about a snake that is contaminated with toxins from cancer-infested rats. It kills two honeymooners after escaping its box, and later it finds its way to the home of one of the main characters and tries to attack her after it comes out of a toilet. It ends up killing one of the two main bad guys, and it is then shot point blank with a rocket launcher.
- Viper, the reptilian-themed Baroness from The Wolverine.
- "Rattlers". You never can have too much snake B movies. And the film poster on IMDB is, like, radically Freudian…
- Although no reptiles appear in Penguins of Madagascar, the Sea Lions are called "Nature's Snakes" by the penguins to show their fear.
- Gremlins: The fluffy mammal-like Mogwai outside of Gizmo are already depicted as a malicious bunch, but they become an unstoppable horde who create havoc in the town and kill several people only after they're turned into fierce reptilian-esque Gremlins.
- In the 1962 William Castle fantasy film Zotz!, a mild-mannered professor of ancient languages receives a mysterious amulet in the mail from his niece's archaeologist boyfriend. He soon learns that while he has the amulet, pointing at something will cause it stabbing pains, and saying "Zotz!" will slow whatever he's looking at down, but pointing and saying "Zotz!" will kill his target outright. Naturally, when he goes outside he tries the stinger on a squirrel and the killer on a lizard (which bursts into flame).
- Zigzagged in the 2010 Bollywood film Hisss (also known as Nagin: The Snake Woman), which has a case of Black and Gray Morality going on. The titular Nagin, a female from a species of magical shapeshifting Snake People, engages in brutal murder of several men... but only due to being considerably provoked. She's on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge because a man dying of cancer kidnapped her husband in order to force her to come to him, so that he could torture them both into giving him their magical elixir so he can be cured, and even then, she only attacks people involved in her husband's abduction, men who abuse women, or men who are stupid enough to try and abuse her. Most infamously, her first kills of the movie, where she responds to two men luring her into their home to try and rape her by biting the first to death and then devouring the other.
- Subverted in the Hurog series. There is a basilisk, and watching how it eats a man (thrown at it by the villain) is an abhorrent experience for the protagonist. However, later on, after the basilisk breaks free from the villain's enchantment, it is treated as just another dangerous animal, and a rare animal at that. The protagonists make an effort to get it to the equivalent of a zoo. (Where it will, presumably, be fed animals instead of sentient beings). It makes sense considering that the protagonist's title means "Guardian of Dragons" and basilisks are related to dragons, in about the way apes are related to humans; basilisks are not as sentient as dragons.
- Basilisks in The Heroes of Olympus are abhorrent, and they destroyed Frank's bow!
- 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, 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 jewelled inanimate object is "death" (and it turns out he's also outlived his poison), but turns out to be right.
- The villagers first introduced in Tiger-Tiger! keep a holy village cobra which is content with being fed and doesn't bother anyone.
- Likewise, in "The Undertakers", the chief villain is a vain old crocodile called the Muggernote , 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).
- How animals are portrayed - "good", "evil", "brave", "cowardly" - does to a large extent depend on the individual story and who the animals interact with; thus "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" to a large extent reflects the irrepressible fear of snakes that Kipling describes as a typically "white" trait in a scene in Kim where the Kim and the lama come upon a venomous snake and the lama stops Kim from trying to kill it.
- One of Dora Wilk Series' creepies and sickest villains is an Asper, a type of demon that can control snakes and other reptiles. He also has reptilian fangs with painful, snake-like poison which he doesn't shy away from using, not to mention that when he does Torture for Fun and Information, it doesn't have the "Information" part in it.
- 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.
- In the first Animorphs book, Jake morphs a green anole lizard to spy on his assistant principal. He loses control of the morph and eats a spider, and the horror of the experience scares him off reptile morphs in general, as he only morphs two more reptiles throughout the next three years, both cases where he pretty much had no other choice. In general reptiles are not used as morphs by any of the team the way mammals are. Reptile morphs are very rarely used, and even when they are, they're always snakes.
- Invoked often 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 essentially Voldemort's Right Hand Snake and a partial Soul Jar.
- However, the actual boa constrictor in the first book 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 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.
- In Astrosaurs series, all the characters are reptiles, however actually played straight (along with Predators Are Mean) as the heroes look more humanoid or mammal-like while the villains have much more pronounced reptilian traits.
- Subverted by David Eddings' The 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...
- The leader of Nyissa getting turned into a giant snake actually improved her morality (from sinister and vamp-ish to amoral and dispassionate). The Snake-God Issa, meanwhile, is a decent enough fellow, though a bit forgetful and not very attentive.
- 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 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, because it meant he wouldn't have to kill a woman.
- A children's book called Brewsters Courage practically bent over backwards to subvert this trope. Brewster is a young black footed ferret who hears a Zyedco band play and decides to move to the bayou. His two closest friends end up being an alligator and a cottonmouth snake, while most of the mammals he meets are pretty nasty to him with the exception of one otter and a mastiff.
- 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 wanting to commit genocide of a sentient species. 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.
- Inverted in Chess With A Dragon. 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 chivalric 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.
- Howard would continue the tradition in his Conan the Barbarian stories, which had the evil cult of Set, the Old Serpent, as a primary adversary for the Cimmerian. In the 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.
- Howard would continue the tradition in his Conan the Barbarian stories, which had the evil cult of Set, the Old Serpent, as a primary adversary for the Cimmerian. In the novel The Hour of the Dragon, the priests of Set keep giant snakes.
- 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.
- Anytime a reptilian character shows up in one of Terry Brooks's 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 reptilian boss, The Morgawr, are the worst characters in series.
- The Hoka series has two races of Reptilian Aliens that are presented as universally and unquestionably unpleasant.
- 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.
- Andre Norton
- Subverted in 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.
- In Ordeal In Otherwhere, Charis finds a madwoman at the post where she is taken, who is obsessed with the horrible "snakes". She certainly was driven mad by contact with the reptilian Wyverns, but whether her horror caused or was caused by the contact is never even touched on.
- Goblins in Artemis Fowl are a reptilian species of fairy. They're presented as extremely stupid and almost universally 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.
- Central to the conflict of Harry Harrison's West of Eden trilogy: humans find reptiles disgusting and frightening, and the Yilanè (intelligent descendants of mosasaurs) have an equally low opinion of "ustuzou" (mammals.) Each ends up seeing the other as vermin to be wiped out.
- Sherlock Holmes can't stand snakes. The arch-villain Professor Moriarty and the 'worst man in London', blackmailer Charles Augustus Milverton, are both compared to reptiles: Moriarty in the way he moves his head, Milverton because he gives Holmes the creeps. The only actual reptile in the series is the Indian swamp adder, which kills people.
- In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Raoul Duke has hallucinations of man-eating Lizard Folk when he makes it to the hotel bar.
- Spirit Animals features the Great Beasts, fifteen Physical Gods with tremendous power over various aspects of reality. The only reptile, Gerathon The Serpent, is one of the two Great Beasts to turn evil. Additionally, a saltwater crocodile is the symbolic animal of the main villain and his crown features a serpent biting its tail.
- Exploited by Biosyn in The Lost World (1995). Dodgson remarks that while animal rights activists can easily drum up support for laboratory dogs who "lick your hand and break your heart," reptiles are less likely to garner such public sympathy. Hence, his expedition to Isla Sorna for potential experimental subjects.
- In his biography Fouché: Bildnis eines politischen Menschen (English title: "Joseph Fouché") Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig notes how much the coat Fouché got when he was made a count and later a duke by Napoleon — a snake wound around a golden column - was to this master of intrigue who also managed to amass a huge fortune.
- Invoked in The Death Gate Cycle. The Serpents are fond of appearing as immense, monstrous snakes (hence the name) because they feed on negative emotions and have determined that this form evokes a great deal of fear, hatred and revulsion in most humanoids. That said, they have Voluntary Shapeshifting powers and can take any shape they want when they want to be more subtle - the giant snake-monsters are just a preference.
- 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.
- 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?
- And can we really fail to mention the Gorn?
- Then again, the Gorn in question was being forced to fight Kirk the same way Kirk was. What's more, the previous attack on the Federation outpost was a result of the Federation accidentally and unknowingly violating Gorn space. This misunderstanding, more than anything, was the cause of the fighting in the first place, and Kirk eventually suggested that the Federation and the Gorn could negotiate a peaceful solution. According to the Expanded Universe, most of them are actually quite friendly, and over time the Gorn have become allies of The Federation. So, ultimately, a subversion.
- 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.
- Stargate SG-1:
- Subverted with the Unas. When first introduced, the lizard-like Unas are unquestionably evil. This is because the only ones encountered are possessed by the Always Chaotic Evil Goa'uld (who 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. (Apophis was associated with snakes in Ancient Egypt, and as the premise was that the Goa'uld had inspired human religions by pretending to be gods.)
- 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.
- The main Big Bads of Space Cases were the Spung, an Always Chaotic 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 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.note 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 documentary that 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 beautiful 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 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.
- This turns up quite a lot in Merlin. First there was a One Shot Villain with a magical shield that had three snakes which could slide out of the metal and poison people. Then there was Lamia, a Monster of the Week that changed from a young girl into a strange half-snake, half-octopus creature and whose presence could be felt by the sound of hissing. Then there's Morgana, who often wears a necklace in the shape of a snake, and has at least two magical snakes at her disposal: a strange multi-headed plant-like creature, and a tiny snake that tortures people.
- The X-Files had several monsters with reptilian motifs.
- "Young At Heart": Doctor Ridley uses salamander cells to de-age Barnett, giving him a horrifying reptilian hand in the process.
- "Die Hand Die Verletzt" makes a use of a school python as an Animal Assassin.
- "Signs And Wonders": Both agents are on edge by an awful lot of snakes. Though it turns out the snake handlers are actually the good guys, more or less.
- "Alone": The monster, originally thought to be some kind of reptile, is actually the crypto-biologist who seemed to be protecting the creature he created and who is able to transform himself at will.
- In the Masters of Horror episode "Pick Me Up", the serial killer Walker seems to have a thing for snakes as predators. He wears snake leather boots, strangles someone to death with a dead snake and skins one of his victims to "shed her skin".
- Most reptilian Wesens in Grimm are mean. Except of course the nice Turtle Wesen, who are peaceful, docile and at worst are two smart for there own good.
- In the M*A*S*H episode where Charles Winchester is first told he's being sent to the 4077, he's visibly disconcerted when his CO at the Tokyo hospital tells him, "It's just like two days here, except for the artillery... and the snakes."
- Later the episode, Hawkeye and B.J. prank him by putting a snake in his cot, and in The Tag he turns the tables by leaving one in Hawkeye's cot.
- Invoked in the title of the 2011 French television mini-series Le Roi, l'Écureuil et la Couleuvre ("The King, the Squirrel and the Adder") shows Nicolas Fouquet (the "squirrel") being ousted from his position as Louis XIV's minister of finance by the intrigues of Jean-Baptiste Colbert (the "adder"). Fouquet's and Colbert's arms actually displayed a squirrel and a snake, respectively.
- 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 (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 snakes. This did not reflect the actual story in any way.
- 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.''
- Never smile at a crocodile. Never tip your hat and stop to talk a while...
- From The Downward Spiral we get the song "Reptile," which goes:
She splits herself wide open, to let the insects inShe leaves a trail of honey, to show me where she's beenShe's got the blood of reptiles, just underneath her skinSeeds of a thousand others, drip down from within
Myth, Legend, and Religion
- 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 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.
- The Bible and Christianity:
- A snake persuaded Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. For this offense, Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden, but the snake itself was cursed by God to "crawl on its belly, eating dust", and to forever be hated by mankind.
- Satan is often called "old snake" or a "dragon". Christian art will always show the Archangel Michael, who supposedly cast Lucifer out of Heaven, as defeating the latter in the form of a dragon. Also, the dragon appearing in the Book of Revelation is usually interpreted as being him.
- The Bible goes against this imagery in Matthew 10:16, when Jesus instructs his followers to be "as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves."
- In the Apocrypha the fallen Archangel Ramiel (who's name in the Greek translations of the Apocrypha is referred to as Hades) is described as a snake and has a personality similar to the Leviathan of Job in that he rules over Pride (unlike the other snake Satan who rules over deceit).
- In The Legend of the Gallant Jiraiya, Jiraiya has a student named Orochimaru who uses snake-magic. Orochimaru decides he wants more power, and heads on over to The Dark Side. Jiraiya and his wife Tsunade use their toad and snail-magic (respectively) to fight Orochimaru. He manages to subdue (although not completely overpower) their summoned creatures, until they are helped by another of Jiraiya's students. The actual outcome of the battle is undetermined, however.
- In Hawaiian Mythology, Hi'iaka is asked to bring Lohia'u back to her sister, Pele. Among the many adventures along the way is a battle with giant monitor lizards. She defeats them using mana (spiritual energy roughly equivalent to chi) contained in the hem of her skirt.
- One of the many monsters Yu the Great has to deal with to save China from its flood and other strife is Xiangliu, a multi-headed serpent.
- In mythological studies, there is a trope called "Chaoskampf". It is always along the lines of "storm god fights huge serpent/dragon, representing order vs chaos". It appears in the form of Indra vs Vritra, Zeus vs Typhon, Thor vs Jormungandr, and possibly Susano'o vs Orochi as well.
- Classical Mythology usually subverts the trope, treating snakes and dragons (these ones featuring as large snakes) neutrally:
- Aside for Typhon, dragons are either guardians of something or what the gods sick on someone for a sin of hubris (the worst of all sins), with only the greatest heroes being able to kill one in a straight fight.
- Snakes are usually featured as a neutral symbol, representing trade, travel, ambassadors and whatever was associated to Hermes, or even healing (the healing association continues to this day, even if with the wrong symbol), with the two greatest healers, capable of bringing the dead back to life, being associated with snakes:
- Asclepius treated snakes with kindness, and one of them repaid him with secret healing knowledge, including how to resurrect the dead. Doing so, however, got Asclepius killed by Zeus with a lightning (either because he accepted money for it or because Hades feared he'd depopulate the afterlife), even if he was later made a god of healing alongside his father Apollo;
- Medea (whose name means "The Cunning One" and has the same root as "medic") first showed her power over snakes and dragons by casually forcing to sleep the one guarding the Golden Fleece, and would later demonstrate her ability to return youthful vigor to her old father-in-law, return to life a chicken that had been cut into pieces, and save Corinth from a famine. She also showed a darker side of this power, casually killing the unkillable bronze giant Talos with a look (she made him kill himself, either through hypnosis or by torturing him 'till he killed himself) for attacking the Argonauts and her husband Jason in particular, and when the Corinthians told Jason to dump her for the daughter of their king and she accepted she made them pay before leaving on a chariot pulled by dragons.
- 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!
- Bally's Mata Hari pinball includes gratuitous images of snakes among the various espionage scenes.
- Stern Pinball's Metallica has a large snake's head on the playfield that eats pinballs.
Snake: “I’m fucking hungry, hungry for your balls!”
- The Evil Sorceress Zenobia in Sinbad summons a giant serpent to menace the hero.
- Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey has a giant Anaconda menace the player in the Boat Adventure.
- 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.
- Discussed in IWA Deep South, where Chikara's Gecko Roman Wrestler Argus was suspected of being an Illuminati agent plotting to takeover the world.
- The Riverbottom Gang from Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas includes a snake and a lizard.
- 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.
- The Gagagigo cards are actually all the same character at different points in his life. He start as a good Ugly Cute lizard kid, who grew up to be an evil lizard man, but turned good after becoming friends with a hero. He turned bad again as a result of being turned into a cyborg. At his most evil, he actually appeared LESS reptilian and more like an Animalistic Abominiation. In his most recent form, (he is back to good again thanks to his friendship with the aforementioned hero) he looks like an angelic cyborg lizard man. So this is a Zig-Zagging Trope for him.
- 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 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. His goal is to turn every human in the world into reptiles... 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 & 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).
- In Dragon Dice, there exist the Swamp Stalkers, a race of war refugees and deserters who sought refuge in the setting's swamps and were there transformed by Death into a race of snake men with the power to mutate members of other species in order to increase their numbers.
- Dungeons & Dragons features many, many cases over the editions. Just a few examples to start with:
- The kobolds (as of 3rd Edition) are little, cowardly, yet malevolent lizard-people distantly related to dragons.
- The Troglodytes, Chaotic Evil lizard-like humanoids that live underground and raid human settlements to feed on the inhabitants.
- Similar to Warhammer below, the Lizard Folk of D&D play with this trope. They're often used as antagonists, but their default alignment is True Neutral (at least in 3rd Edition/3.5) and they really just want to be left alone.
- The yuan-ti, probably the most iconic D&D race for this trope. They range from mostly-human people with a few snake features to mostly-snake people with a few human features, as well as several other heavily-mutated varieties. Their patron deity is Merrshaulk, a Chaotic Evil giant snake-monster that spends most of its time slumbering in its realm in the Abyss.
- The Bullywug race of frog-like humanoids, Chaotic Evil (as almost everything non-herbivore there). Defeated by tempting them with alcohol which they can't resist and so drink until knocked out by severe intoxication.
- Played with example from the Lizardmen in Warhammer. On one hand, they're scary as hell, they're capable of realigning the landscape and don't care if there is anyone living on it (read: this is one of the reasons why the Dwarves are a Dying Race) and they commit shockingly brutal genocides. On the other hand, they're the foremost enemies of Chaos, the targets of their genocides are Always Chaotic Evil creatures like the Skaven, they're sided with Order rather than Destruction, and the reason for the continent shenanigans is the result of Blue and Orange Morality that says that the world must be reset to the way it was according to the Old One's plans. Word Of God has said that Lizardmen default to Lawful Neutral, making them a rare example of Lizard Folk being good guys... Or rather, Good-ish guys.
- Chronopia has the Stygians, who are a mix of dinosaur like reptiles, and Snake People. They are bloodthirsty desert raiders, and make constant human sacrifices to their Priestesses.
- In the Street Fighter RPG, Ss'lussthu-Kha is a member of an entire species of Snake People who used to rule the world, but have since been driven into hiding. She's part of a team called the Contendors, made up of Humanoid Abominations, and is using them as cover to scout the human world in hopes of finding a weakness her species can exploit to conquer and enslave or eradicate all of humanity.
- Drakis, a stranded member of a species of aliens who look like humanoid dragons, is portrayed more sympathetically, being mostly interested in finding a way back to his homeworld and frustrated with how humans keep referring to him as some sort of monster.
- 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.
- Beast Wars toys played the trope straight, usually. Reptiles and arthropods where villainous Predacons. Interestingly fish, manta rays, sharks, and squid were Maximals.
- 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 a Woobie 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.
- Though he does play this straight at times. First during his Sanity Slippage starting with Deadly Alliance due to failure to restore his race, with his body becoming less and less humanoid. Then later during his The Dog Bites Back non-canonical ending in 9, where he and his restored race becomes an Omnicidal Maniac, murdering every other Outworld species including children.
- Donkey Kong:
- 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.
- Several characters of the Argonian race in The Elder Scrolls series are portrayed as villainous, despite really being no worse than the other playable races in general. They are long-standing victims of Fantastic Racism. This trope is also invoked to emphasize the average Tamrielic denizen's fear and hatred of the Akaviri snake-men/Tsaesci.
- 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:
- Ridley, a giant pterodactyl cyborg, and Kraid, a humongous lizard with optical shield-tough skin, occupy the top of the Space Pirates chain of command (directly under Mother Brain). They're arch nemeses of Samus Aran (Ridley in particular, given the series' backstory).
- The Reptilicus/Old Bryyonians in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, who'll attack you on sight. To be fair, though, the lore entries that you can scan on Bryyo imply that they were fairly nice guys at one point, but more or less turned "evil" after a schism broke out between the "primal" ways of magic and the "new ways" of science.
- Subverted in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & 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. That said, the majority of the bosses and Big Bad Andross are all apes of some variety. (According to the tie-in comic for the original Star Fox game that appeared in Nintendo Power, lizards are the native species of Venom and were enslaved by the evil Andross.) And General Scales, of course.
- 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 SoulCalibur 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.
- The 2012 remake replaced the Snakemen with the "Thin Men," who look like humans on the surface but close-up inspection reveals snake eyes and other reptilian features. Their appearance recalls the Men in Black of UFO lore who threaten witnesses into silence, while also invoking the conspiracy theory claims of reptilian aliens that go around in human disguise (either as shapeshifters or with impressive fake human suits).
- XCOM 2, the sequel to Enemy Unknown, introduces the Vipers, a race of cobra-hooded Snake People reminiscent of the Snakemen from the original game, albeit with a more feminine aesthetic.
- 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. Anakes 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 Bastards 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.
- In the Fire Emblem series the Divine Dragons are the only always friendly type of dragon and have the least prominent reptilian traits by far. They even have feathers and fur in some appearances. On the opposite end, the dinosaur/crocodile looking Earth Dragons and serpentine Mage Dragons have always been enemy characters thus far.
- 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.
- Set up with a conflict between Lizardmen and a village in the main Neverwinter Nights 2 campaign, where the Lizardmen seem to be launching unprovoked attacks. Subverted when the Lizardmen turn out to be somewhat sympathetic, and ultimately can be convinced to from a truce and, later, ally against the Big Bad.
- In Jeanne D Arc, the good guys are all mammalian (lions and dogs) while the only lizardmen units are lancers for the villains.
- Final Fantasy:
- Bangaa examples:
- The Bangaa in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance are pretty cool guys, and have some incredibly Bad Ass 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. However, there are also a few friendly Bangaa NPCs outside of cities that will fight off enemies that are attacking you and will cast protective spells on your party as well, so Bangaa in general can play the trope straight and avert it at once.
- 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. Heck, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 makes the Bangaa look more like well behaved citizens (with the usual thug here or there) while most of the Seeq are portrayed as villains, robbers, and all round gluttons with little (if any) redeeming qualities.
- 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 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 anyone they see, defending their homes with extreme prejudice.
- Final Fantasy XIV have the Amalj'aa, a race of huge and burly black lizardmen that worship the primal, Ifrit, and they feed their god more power by kidnapping people and bringing them to him so he can temper them, effectively making them mindless slaves. While few in number, there are a handful of Amalj'aa that are not worshippers of Ifrit and actively fight against their own kin that do worship Ifrit.
- Bangaa examples:
- 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. You can't live with them, and if you slacked off on building a big fleet you can't kill them.
- In Contra Re Birth 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 isn't universal thanks to 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 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 quaggannote is just the start.
- 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.
- Super Mario Bros. feature Koopas, a race of cartoony turtles that are one of the standard enemies in the series. Big Bad Bowser is a an odd Turtle/Dragon/Ox... thing. Koopas are somewhat odd, in that they're villainous reptiles that are still portrayed as cute.
- In Risk of Rain the Lemurians are freaky Lizard Folk monsters who have quite a nasty bite. Oddly enough, in the monster log, the survivor observes them to be quite peaceful, sapient and even cultured, fond of music in particular. Seems like whatever's stirring up a frenzy in the planetary wildlife and making it attack you didn't spare absolutely anything.
- Some of the hidden object searches in the Princess Isabella series involve removing all of the "evil" objects from a tainted location. They tend to consist mostly of snakes, toads and spiders.
- The slithzerikai (or "sliths") in the Exile/Avernum series play with this in the very first game. When you are exiled to the underground realm, you're informed that one of the enemies that threatens the subterranean kingdom is this race of lizard-people, making it seem like the trope is in effect. However, later you find a town of sliths who do not follow the policies of the current leader, Sss-Thiss. It's Sss-Thiss who is responsible for the sliths turning warlike; before he came along, they were a peaceful people. In later games, the "darkling" sliths are a relative minority compared to the friendly ones; in fact, you can even make slith characters for your party.
- Zigzagged in the Pokémon series. The snake species of Pokemon, Seviper and Arbok, are both less than pleasant, based on their Pokedex descriptions. They're also commonly used by the villains in the games. However, you can also catch and train them for yourself. Notably, there are also a variety of other reptilian species of Pokemon, which can be used either by you or your opponents. Plus, the first generation starters consist of a frog, a lizard, and a turtle.
- In Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi, the antagonist is an evil reptilian creature leading a group named Union Lizard.
- Fallen London: The Bishop of Southwark is a definite believer in this trope, as when "breeding" animals to assist in his crusade against Devils, he has zero compunctions shooting your creation and berating you if the creature you get's a snake. This is even more noticeable when you find out the man's outright enthusiastic when presented with fire-breathing lobsters. Naturally, the animal he seeks, the Hound of Heaven, really is a snake (though a particularly angelic-looking one). He resigns himself to it by the end, taking the irony as a test, and deciding he doesn't care how hilarious the Devils find it.
- In Gems Of War, many of the enemies in the Mist of Scales region (a swamp, naturally) are reptilian people; the Lamia and Poison Master are Snake People, while the Scale Guard seems to be Lizard Folk.
- The PC Fighting Game Battle Beast had a villainous "Toadman" and you got bonus points for squishing toads.
- In Dark Souls II, the Demon of Song looks like a giant frog when its "mouth" is closed. When the mouth opens, it reveals its true ghastly face and long spindly arms. The face is the only vulnerable part of the demon since the frog body is Nigh Invulnerable. It also has a surprisingly beautiful singing voice.
- In Terinu. The Galapados are gene-gineered reptile warriors designed to match humans for sheer aggression.
- 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.
- 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.
- TV Tropes refers to a certain type of villain as a Smug Snake. Not even this very wiki is immune to this trope!
- In a Heroes webisode, one of the villains is a humanoid snake called the Constrictor.
- SCP-682, the "Hard-to-Kill Reptile." It's a giant Nigh Invulnerable lizard-monster that finds all life on Earth utterly repellant and horrifying and responds by trying to make it stop.
- 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, Big Bad Croc (crocodile/dinosaur) and his sidekicks Frizard (frog/lizard) and Brat (gon/boar) 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.)
- In Brandy & 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.
- The Family Guy episode, "Lois Comes Out of Her Shell," features a seemingly nice, harmless turtle who turns out to be murderous named Sheldon.
- Extremely evident in The Get Along Gang. Some episodes had a turtle 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. 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 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"?
- If a Trandoshan appears at all in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, expect him or her to be a bounty hunter, mercenary, assassin, or a greedy loner looking to get rich. Or in Garnac's case, a sadist who kidnaps people and hunts them for sport.
- The Swan Princess had evil alligators, and a heroic turtle.
- In the Transformers Headmasters episode "Rebellion on Planet Beest" (sic), the reptiles, amphibians, and fish on a planet of Petting Zoo People side with the Decepticons. It's up to the mammals to form a rebellion.
- Several Decepticons in the Generation One had reptilian alternate modes, while there were no reptilian Autobots (though one of Sky Lynx's halves' robot modes was a dragon-bird).
- Beast Wars, as explained in the toy section.
- On SWAT Kats, Dr. Viper is an Evilutionary Biologist villain and part snake. 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 TaleSpin 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!"
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Subverted with Karai, who isn't mutated into a giant snake until after her Heel-Face Turn.
- Baron Silas Greenback, Arch-Enemy of Danger Mouse, is a toad with a penchant for greed.
- T.U.F.F. 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.
- One episode of Justice League had The Flash attempt to stop the Heart of Darkness, a purple crystal that enclosed the vengeful spirits of an evil ancient race of snake people called the Ophidians who attempted to destroy humanity by possessing anyone who touched it. Also counts as Dark Is Evil as the Ophidians worshiped the moon and preferred the night over the light, which transfers over to the spirits' possession being broken through intense light and main attempt to destroy humanity by destroying the sun. Any herpetologist will tell you that since snakes are cold-blooded, they need warm environments to increase their metabolism as they can't regulate their own body heat. Cold environments like the sunless night would make them more sluggish.
- The original ThunderCats played this trope straight; Reptilians are bad, period. The reboot shakes things up; the Lizards have some pretty darn good reasons for hating the Cats.
- Used and subverted with Harry Slime in Avenger Penguins. Mainly a creepy henchman, but not outright evil and has frequent attacks of wanting to be a good guy.
- Subverted in the 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon Wally Gator. Wally is pretty harmless and pleasant for an alligator.
- Discussed in one episode of Kung Fu Panda Legends Of Awesomeness where one of the villains was a cobra named Fu-xi who was once a noble and brave warrior that defended others with his skills and fear-inducing venom. However, when he and his kind are persecuted by others out of fear and paranoia, he becomes hateful towards all "two-leggers" and tries to convince Viper (after saving her from some paranoid villagers who also attacked her for being a snake) to ally with him so they could take their revenge by infecting the valley with his enhanced venom and leave all non-snake kind in perpetual terror. Playing the Fake Defector, Viper leads Fu-xi along, pretending to be his apprentice until she is able to locate the venom and stop his plans from taking fruition. Afterwards, the once fearful village accepts her and treat her as a hero.
- Delilah the monitor lizard from the 1995 Littlest Pet Shop show.
- Subverted with the snake Natalie rescues from the animal testing lab in Mission Hill. It plays it up as a monster that wants to eat Baby Nameless, but it turns out he's really friendly and just wants to be loved.