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The common view is that Reptiles Are Abhorrent. They're scaly, inhuman, and to some people, creepy... but some can be cute.
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For a number of reasons, lizards tend to be regarded as some of the cuter reptiles. They're small with big eyes, traits that humans instinctively find endearing, and most are non-threatening to humans. Sure, some species of lizard can still seem creepy, but if you look closely, you can find some of the same qualities in them that make other animals endearing.

This perceived cuteness often leads to lizard characters being kindhearted and/or heroic, more so than other reptiles like snakes and crocodiles. Geckos and chameleons are the most commonly-used lizards for this trope, due to their small size and being among the cutest of lizards. Exotic-looking lizards such as iguanas, frilled lizards, bearded dragons, basilisks, horned lizards, and thorny devils are also popular choices, though they still have their share of negative portrayals as well. Monitor lizards, being the largest, scariest, and least "cute" of the lizards, are rarely portrayed this way. Gila monsters are also usually portrayed negatively due to being venomous and scary-looking. Skinks, despite being smaller, are also not likely to be portrayed as this due to looking "generic" and therefore creepy. And good luck finding a legless lizard — nobody can tell them apart from those awful snakes.

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May or may not be Lizard Folk. May overlap with Hollywood Chameleons, especially in kids' shows where they make for brightly colored and charming sidekicks. Related to Wise Old Turtle, another common aversion of Reptiles Are Abhorrent. See also Delightful Dragon and Shoulder-Sized Dragon for this trope with wings.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Beastars: Gosha is a rare example of a friendly komodo dragon. A former crime-fighting vigilante, he is now a friendly old man that volunteers at a day-care and is constantly worried of his venom hurting others. He's also a caring grandfather to the protagonist Legoshi.
  • My Hero Academia: Played with. The lizard man Spinner is a member of the League of Villains, but is one of the most benevolent Anti Villains in the series. He refuses to kill Midoriya because Stain has decided he is worthy of being a hero and even stops Magne's attacks towards him. Chapter 220 explores more of him to reveal he joined the League in an attempt to rebel against the Fantastic Racism against mutants rather than just wanting to destroy society like his boss.
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    Comic Strips 
  • FoxTrot has Jason's iguana Quincy. He doesn't really do much, but he has an adorable design and his child owner loves and dotes on him like the beloved pet that he is.

    Fanworks 

    Films — Animation 
  • Monsters, Inc.: Randall Boggs plays with this. In the original movie, he, a lizardlike monster, was portrayed as pure evil. But the prequel Monsters University shows his Start of Darkness. As a teen, "Randy" was a shy, dorky, and innocent guy who just wanted to make friends. This led him to join the Jerk Jock fraternity, only for them to cast him out when he loses the big game to Mike and Sully, causing him to develop a grudge against Sully that guides his actions in the original movie. This is an interesting example because even though we know he's going to turn bad, his younger self in MU is still quite cute and relatable, making him a great (if retroactive) example of straying away from Reptiles Are Abhorrent.
  • Rango: The title character, a dorky chameleon looking for his place in the world.
  • In Tangled, Rapunzel has a pet chameleon named Pascal, who is cute and feisty, as well as a bit of a Silent Snarker. However, he's also responsible for tripping Mother Gothel up so that she falls to her Disney Villain Death at the climax.
  • The Rescuers Down Under:
    • Frank, an adorably hyperactive and nervous frilled lizard.
    • While Joanna the Goana is a secondary antagonist, her doglike mannerisms are endearing. It's implied her antagonism is largely due to be being abused by her master, and she is spared in the end.

    Literature 
  • Lionboy has Ninu, a friendly little chameleon who befriends Charlie and Sergei.
  • Sissix from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is an Aandrisk, a species of alien that looks a lot like a bipedal lizard. She is one of the more friendly beings on the Wayfearer, quickly helping Rosemary feel at home among the crew.
  • The Shredderman books by Wendelin van Draanen have The Gecko and Sticky, an in-universe TV show about a gecko-themed superhero fighting crime with his pet gecko, Sticky, who can talk. The book's protagonist, Nolan Byrd, loves the show so much that it inspires him to create his own secret identity, kickstarting the plot.

    Live-Action TV 

    Mythology 
  • The cultural heroes of the Adnyamathanha are Kudnu (literally "goanna" or "skink") and Muda ("gecko"). Traditionally lizards are thus respected by the Adnyamathanha.

    Tabletop Games 

  • Eberron: The native celestials are the couatl, winged rainbow snakes. Because of this, rainbow snake motifs are very common in any religious context (especially for the Silver Flame, as Tira Miron was guided by a couatl), and Keith Baker suggests adding cosmetic snake features to existing celestials to reinforce this theme. There are still evil snake monsters, but they aren't seen as indicative of a wider trend any more than evil dog monsters or evil fire monsters.

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing:
    • Nat the chameleon is a British-accented naturalist who hosts the Bug-Off Tournament.
    • City Folk has Frillard the frilled lizard, a Cool Old Guy who is a famous comedian and can teach the player different emotions.
    • New Horizons introduces Nat's son Flick, an Perky Goth artist with a shy, sweet personality.
  • Farnham Fables:
    • The native lizard inhabitants of Glekutsu Village are very kind people. Keith Spearhorn is a talented doctor who offers to make medicine for the princes at no charge if they find the missing ingredient, Gloria Moongrass is a sweet and energetic little girl, and her mother Rachael is a loving parent.
    • The Edison family are reptilian expies of the Apple family. Wendy is a Cool Big Sis to her cheerful little sister Winona, William is a diligent worker, and Wilford is very proud of his grandchildren for having these qualities.
  • Pokémon:
  • Alphys from Undertale is a monster resembling a golden, crested lizard or dinosaur. Her timid, socially awkward personality will make most players come to love her quickly.
  • Gex: Downplayed. While Gex is a gecko and the protagonist of the series, he is a selfish Anti-Hero in the first two games. Not exactly the innocent type, although his jokes and references help make him a little more likable. He does become more heroic in the third game, though.
  • In Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil, the Amusement Park Joilant has its own mascot in the form of a goofy-looking Cartoon Creature resembling a lizard or dinosaur. In the Joilant Fun Park level, he can be seen numerous times in the background, entertaining the guests.
  • League of Legends: Neeko is a half-chameleon Cute Monster Girl and one of the sweeter and more adorable Champions in the game.
  • Gary from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is an interesting example: being a Snivelakian like the antagonistic Goons-4-Less, he's basically a tall, muscular crocodile-like alien... But his big round eyes and gentle personality make him very endearing.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Espio the Chameleon is a member of the Chaotix detective agency, and also the stoic Only Sane Man of the group.
  • Super Paper Mario has Francis, a Nintendo fanboy chameleon who kidnaps your Exposition Fairy because he thought it was just a cool-looking butterfly. After completing the game, he'll sell you a robotic version of her.
  • According to the Tempedia, Pycko from Temtem has a cheerful personality and is the star of a fire safety cartoon.
  • Yooka-Laylee: Yooka the chameleon, one of the two main protagonists, is kindhearted and optimistic.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Polite Lizard, a meme that started out with a video of a leopard gecko inching towards the camera with a big smile and Puppy-Dog Eyes. People started adding captions comparing the gecko to someone staring at something they want or love.

    Web Video 
  • Clint's Reptiles takes this view, as a reptile keeper eager to spread knowledge of proper animal care and recommendations for pets.

    Western Animation 
  • Amazing Animals: Henry the Gecko, the CGI-animated lizard.
  • Bing from The Angry Beavers may be annoyingly clingy, but he is otherwise very amicable.
  • Dora the Explorer: Isa the Iguana, one of Dora's animal companions and The Heart of their little Five-Man Band.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe has Lizard Man, sometimes just called Lizzie. He's not nearly as beefed up and muscular as most of the heroes (he didn't have an action figure in those days), but he's a nice and heroic guy and very good at climbing.
  • Much of The Lion Guard's edutainment value comes from teaching kids about different wild animals, so the heroes meet up with a few of these:
  • The animated short film Lizard Quest stars an adorable little gecko going on a quest with a turtle and a chameleon, who are more experienced adventurers and see the gecko as The Load. The gecko has a tendency to get stuck to things, which lands him in trouble a few times until he uses it to help defeat the dragon, making the turtle and chameleon realize how special he is and accept him into the group.
  • Liz of The Magic School Bus, Ms. Frizzle's loyal sidekick Jackson chameleon.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Summertime Shorts, Sunset Shimmer gets a pet in an adorable leopard gecko which she names Ray.
  • Oscar's Oasis features a titular protagonist who is a gecko.
  • Ovide and the Gang has Polo, a giant red lizard who is one of the main heroes.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In one episode, the boys find a chameleon and name him Steve. Ferb especially takes such a shine to the reptile that when he goes missing, Ferb delivers an epic (and utterly out of character) Rousing Speech when Phineas and Isabella are about to give up.
  • PJ Masks: Gekko, a young Lizard themed superhero. He also has a pet lizard named Lionel, who acts more like a dog than a reptile (he likes to play fetch).
  • Santiago of the Seas: Nacho is the pet green iguana of Tomas, one of the main characters of the series. He is quite adorable and seems to love cuddling with his human and dozing off.
  • Komodo from The Secret Saturdays is one of Zak's animal companions. Being a Komodo dragon, however, he is less pleasant than most examples.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Selma's Choice", Selma gains a pet iguana named Jub-Jub, who formerly belonged to her deceased aunt Gladys. She shows a lot of affection for the lizard, even cradling him like a baby.
    • Played with in "Bart the Mother". Bart takes in what he thinks are two bird eggs, but they turn out to be Bolivian tree lizards, a fictional species that lay their eggs in bird nests to feed off the birds. Bart grows attached to them anyway, and is horrified when Principal Skinner tries to kill them (as he runs a birdwatching club and considers the lizards destructive) but saves them with Marge's help and releases them into the wild. Here, the "lovable" part comes not so much from the lizards themselves, but with Bart's fondness for them, which is truly heartwarming:
      Bart: Everyone thinks they're monsters. But I raised them and I love them.

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