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Reptiles Are Abhorrent

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Just once, we'd like to see an evil terrorist organization with a fluffy hamster motif.

"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."
Carl von Linné, a.k.a. Carl Linnaeus, also the epigraph of Jurassic Park (1990)

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.note  In Speculative Fiction, they might be fantastic beings such as Lizard Folk and Snake People.

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", "Cobra", or "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 (especially venomous ones) and crocodilians tend to be the reptiles most associated with villains. Meanwhile, turtles and certain small, cute lizards like geckos, chameleons, frilled lizards and the like are seen as cute and harmless, and are less likely to be considered evil, while large lizards like monitors and gila monsters are basically snakes with legs. 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. Also, while this trope primarily applies to real-life reptiles or characters based on them, it can also factor into how your dragons are different. Indeed, the grotesque, poisonous, fire-spewing, maiden-abducting beast of Medieval lore might well be the ultimate incarnation of this trope.

Despite the trope's name, it also applies to amphibians. Toads, in particular, have become heavily correlated with evil and unpleasantness due to their poisonous secretions (which is part of the origin of the word “toadstool”), association with witches, and the myth that touching one will give you warts. Salamanders are also often depicted negatively. 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 (see Animal Stereotypes).

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 common, but it's far from omnipresent, so do not list aversions. Also, remember that for it to be a subversion, the audience must be set up to expect it before it is shown not to be the case. There are enough non-abhorrent reptiles in fiction that it would be a waste of time and space to list them all. Also, this is a Super-Trope of Snakes Are Sinister, Never Smile at a Crocodile, and Malicious Monitor Lizard, so examples specific to snakes, crocodilians, or monitor lizards should go to their respective sub-trope and not here.

See also What Measure Is a Non-Cute?, Scaled Up, Emotionless Reptile, Fangs Are Evil, Primate Versus Reptile, and Dragons Are Demonic. In works set during the time of dinosaurs, this may go hand-in-hand with Meek Mesozoic Mammal. Compare Amphibian Assault, Bears Are Bad News, Cats Are Mean, Cruel Elephant, Feathered Fiend, Mister Muffykins, Savage Wolves, Threatening Shark and You Dirty Rat!. Contrast with Lovable Lizard. This is also closely related to Good Animals, Evil Animals.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & 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: The Series:
    • The anime 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. During the Unova arc,the main character had an adorable charming Snivy, but his rival has a mean-looking Serperior (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.
    • Averted, on the other hand, with Ash's Totodile and Krookodile, two rare examples of heroic crocodilians.
  • Snake Princess from Dragon Ball Z Filler, who both desires Goku and wants to eat him.
  • 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. Gansley, 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 pretty horrible person but at least is very kind to the protagonist and Took a Level in Kindness.
  • 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 Reborn! (2004) most of the Arcobaleno have cute mammals or birds as their pets. What do the greedy Viper and Mad Scientist Verde get? A frog which can turn into a lizard which can bit its tail Ouroboros-style 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.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 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.
  • Beast Saga is a prime example of this - based on a revival of the Battle Beasts toyline, almost all the villains are exclusively various reptiles, as well as fishes, save for one turncoat mammal, who is naturally, a wolf.
  • No reptilian Brute in Killing Bites has ever been portrayed as having anything close to redeeming qualities. Cobra is a pervert whose only motivation is raping as many pretty girls as he can get his hands on. Gecko is a Sadist who enjoys watching others suffer before she kills them. The Horned Dragon sisters are Creepy Children who have no idea what morals are, and the Chameleons are Sumitomo's personal hit squad called in to do unsavory things on his behalf. It's apparently explained in that the therianthrope powers are essentially Personality Powers, and that said powers are modeled on their Animal Motif that reflects their personality.
  • Buso Renkin: Kawazui, a Surinam Toad homunculus, is the most villainous of the animal-type homunculi from the series' first arc. While most of the homunculi are either driven by their hunger or a deep dedication to their creator, Kawazui has a slimy, greedy and torturous personality, while his role as a spy gives a very stalkerish feel to his character.
  • Getter Robo: The premier antagonist faction of the series is the Dinosaur Empire which is composed of dinosaurs who evolved to become intelligent humanoid-saurians but were forced to flee underground to escape from the cosmic radiation which would become known as the Getter Rays. The shame of having to live underground and forefiet the Earth's surface to a younger species of inferior primates has instilled a bitter feeling of resentment over the millenia, causing them to be motivated by a sense of racial superiority and a desire for righteous revenge against humanity and the Getter Rays.
  • In the Transformers: ★Headmasters episode "Rebellion on Planet Beest" (sic), the reptiles, amphibians, and fish on a planet of Beast Men side with the Decepticons. It's up to the mammals and birds to form a rebellion.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU and DC Animated Universe:
    • 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, 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.
    • 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 the 52 series, who turns out to be the vessel of an Eldritch Abomination that hails from Apokolips that embodies famine.
    • The Gordanians are a race of Lizard Folk slavers who terrorize the Vega System, home to Starfire and the Omega Men.
    • In The Multiversity, the evil Dr Sivana's Alliance of Alternates includes a cartoon snake, presumably the foe of Hoppy the Marvel Bunny.
    • Superman's enemies Lord Satanis and Syrene can summon animals, but in Two for the Death of One they only ever summon snakes. Satanis summoned a nest of vipers to kill some poor villagers who offended him, Syrene summoned giant -literally- infernal snakes, and she even transformed the ground under her husband into a humongous snake which swallowed him whole.
    • In Superman Family #174, an alien race of serpent men attempts to subjugate mankind by mind-controlling Supergirl into working for them.
    • In Power Girl (1988), Kather, one of the servants of the Big Bad, is a horn-headed, green snake-man.
  • The Marvel Universe:
    • Spider-Man: Curt Connors' 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' lab assistant and stole some of the formula that turned Connors into the Lizard, perfected it (for herself, anyway), and used it to grow new legs. Even though the use of said legs requires her to 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.
    • The Skrulls are reptile-like aliens are can be even more so Depending on the Artist.
    • Viper is yet another snake-thematic villain.
    • The Serpent Squad are a team of snake-themed mercenaries who sometimes serve as antagonists of Captain America.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Played straight with the males of the Brotherhood of the Badoon. Somehow, though, the females of the race are neither reptilian nor evil.
    • The Sons of the Serpent are basically Marvel's version of the Ku Klux Klan.
    • Like the rest of the Conan the Barbarian mythos, the Serpent Men and their god Set are part of the Marvel Universe - or they were until the license ran out a few years ago.
  • 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.
  • 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 referred to as the 'Black Snake'. Rayek gets called this a few times as well.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight: The Dystopians are evil brits that performed evil deeds in name of colonialism and reincarnated as humanoid lizards in Hell. They are extremely greedy and cunning, and serve as rivals to the vampires' supremacy in the afterlife. Notably, despite being an evil race, they ironically have at least one heroic member, Sir Tolecnal (to get a clue who he used to be in life, read his name backwards) who serves as the closest thing as a Knight in Shining Armor, but this world being what it is, he is dumb as a sack of bricks.
  • Reyn has the Venn species, who all look like salamanders and just so happen to be responsible for enslaving and nearly driving humanity into extinction.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) treats snakes as this universally. Trey Scales was The Load to the original Freedom Fighters who betrayed them for no reason, and even said "I'm a snake, it's(evil) totally in my nature." Later Mordred Hood, a subordinate of Dr. Robotnik was a cowardly usurper of a snake who used a mechanical body to move around in lieu of limbs.
  • Sonic the Comic: The Crimson Cobra is a cobra wearing mechanical arms who owned an Evil, Inc., and opposed the Chaotix.
  • Judge Dredd: Dredd regularly came to blows with the Kleggs, a race of alien Lizard Folk (with some crocodilian features, depending on the artist) who were among the most dangerous enemies of Mega-City One.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Crocs in Pearls Before Swine; their usual (and futile) goal is to eat Zebra while speaking in ludicrous accents and displaying eye-popping stupidity. The youngest one seems to be the least dedicated (he's also clearly quite a bit smarter and lacks the accent).
  • Quincy, Jason's pet lizard from FoxTrot, is seen as one by Jason's sister Paige, as he is constantly having Quincy chew up her stuff and generally freak her out. He's actually pretty passive, though.

    Fairy Tales 
  • 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" -Charles Perrault's version of "Mother Holle"- a fairy punishes the wicked daughter so that toads and snakes fall out of her mouth with every word she speaks.
  • "Follow Me, Jodel!": Subverted. Jodel feels nauseous when the toad comes near him, believing such a repulsive critter must want to do him harm. Even so, Jodel follows the toad's instructions, and he finds the ugly animal is both kind and helpful.
  • 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" (link).
  • 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;
  • "Prince Lindworm": The titular prince is a hideous, violent snake-like dragon who swallows two princesses. One Indian version reverses this, though; the prince is cursed to become a monstrous fish and the girl is helped by talking snakes.
  • In "The Three Snake Leaves", a snake slithers into the vault where the main character has been buried alive with his deceased wife, and creeps towards the corpse. The prince swiftly cuts the snake into three pieces, but after a time another snake creeps into the crypt, and uses the titular leaves to restore and resurrect the dead reptile.
  • In "The Swan Maiden" variant "The Three Swans", the huntsman must endure the torture of three dragons for three days to remove his wife's. Every time they turn into large snakes or fire-breathing turtles.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Ice Age franchise: several of the dinosaurs
  • The Rescuers zigzags by featuring an association of Rescue Aid mice, a friendly cat who sings about keeping faith and an extremely helpful dragonfly. While Madame Medusa's pet alligators are the only evil animals in the movie, one of the good guys is a turtle. Likewise, 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, but there's also a frilled lizard who's among the good guys. 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 (1973) has the Punch-Clock Villain Sir Hiss. Oddly enough, he's a goofy Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. Another villain is an axe wielding crocodile Elite Mook. The movie does feature a more sympathetic turtle: Toby, nerdy friend of Skippy Rabbit.
  • Kaa in The Jungle Book (1967) 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 cobra.
  • Fantasia has "Dance of the Hours", in which the ballet-dancing hippopotami, elephants 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 Emperor's New Groove: Main villain Yzma uses her fair share of decorative snake motifs. Also, one of her Mooks was transformed into a lizard. Averted with the alligator that clings onto Yzma and later Kuzco after they fall through the "wrong lever" trapdoor; it runs off scared with a gentle smack.
  • 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.
    • Inverted for Louis the gator, who is quite friendly, and Juju, Mama Odie's snake, who's not only friendly but is more scared of Mama Odie when she involves him in some of her crazy antics.
  • 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...
  • Heavy Metal 2000 features a race of violent Lizard Folk who have a taste for blood sports to the death and conquest.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: The Tiger Prowess, Counselor the gecko is one of the villains of the film alongside Lord Japper the tiger and Leopold the leopard, and is the only reptile of the trio while the other two are cats. This goes even further when it's revealed near the end of the film that he's the one masterminding Lord Japper and his amusement park, on top of him convincing Lord Japper and Leopold that they're a tiger and a leopard respectively when they're actually a house cat and a hyena.
  • Adventures in Zambezia: The main villain is a Malicious Monitor Lizard named Budzo who loves to eat bird eggs. In the past, he bit Sekhuru's wing off and killed Kai's mother.
  • Although no reptiles appear in Penguins of Madagascar, the leopard seals are called "Nature's Snakes" by the penguins to show their fear.
  • Rattlesnake Jake and the corrupt Tortoise John in Rango.
  • The Swan Princess had evil alligators, and a heroic turtle.
  • Flushed Away uses the "Amphibians Are Abhorrent" variant: the heroes are mammalian, human-like rats, while the Big Bad is a toad called "the Toad" who despises rats (albeit for a tragic reason) and wants to wipe out the rats in London's sewers so he can replace them with his tadpoles. If that's not enough, he also has a cousin called "Le Frog", who has other frogs as henchmen. There are no heroic amphibians in the movie, although there are villainous rats.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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!"
  • Completely Averted in the new version of The Shaggy Dog, the genetically experimented snake is very docile and friendly.
  • 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!
  • Space Jam: A New Legacy: White Mamba is a rather beautiful and mean snake woman who is a member of The Goon Squad basketball team.
  • In the excellently titled Ssssssss, the Mad Scientist in the movie doesn'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.
  • Much like the books snakes are used to represent evil in the Harry Potter-movies the main examples being Voldemort, Nagini and Basilisk. Even Voldemort followers follow this snake-like trend e.g The Dark Mark tattoo on the Death Eaters is a snake coming out of skull, and Barty Crouch Jr. and his Maniac Tongue.
    • Voldemort's appearance is also meant to be snake-like, with no hair, nostril slits instead of a nose, and a two-point tongue.
  • 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. Amphibian-based species are more of an even split, with some being portrayed as good (the Gungans) and some evil (the Hutts). That said, we did get this article on the subject of Gungans:
    "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 Conan the Barbarian (1982), 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.
  • 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…
  • Very Inverted, with The Lizards, In Cinderella (2015), They are very kind and helpful with Cinderella, especially with Mr. Lizard.
  • 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.
  • Lincoln: Thaddeus Stevens rebukes his fellow Congressman George Pendleton with such an insult.
    Stevens: You are more reptile than man, George!
  • Played with in Noah. While it follows the biblical creation story including the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve, the film gives focus to a scene where hundreds of snakes enter the Ark, as they are also part of the Lord's creation and deserve to be rescued from the flood. Additionally, original good is represented by a relic owned by Noah's family line: a snakeskin belonging to the deceitful serpent. As the snake in a flashback is shown shedding its skin just before it goes to deceive humanity (and subsequently looks more fearsome), the snakeskin signifies the old creation that was once good, including the snake.
  • Escape from New York and its sequel, Escape from L.A. both star Kurt Russell as a Sociopathic Hero named Snake Plissken.
  • In Just One of the Guys, the character billed as "Reptile" is constantly showing off his collection of lizards and amphibians. They are not well-received.
  • The Karate Kid has Cobra Kai, a Thug Dojo full of bullies who are the film's antagonists. In the Sequel Series Cobra Kai, Johnny revives the dojo, name and all. Even though he has good intentions, he uses the same training methods that he learned, turning it into a Thug Dojo all over again. But Johnny's no longer a villainous character, so he eventually loses the dojo to its original founder and starts a new one as the less abhorrent (and slightly nonsensical) Eagle Fang. Speaking of Kreese, it's worth noting that he wears a cobra tattoo, and a flashback reveals that his Moral Event Horizon involved a Snake Pit.
  • Jaws of Satan has Satan itself taking a form of a king cobra to enact vengeance on a priest whose family line was cursed by druids. Its presence also makes the local rattlesnakes act in unusually aggressive manner, which leads many people being attacked.

    Game Books 
  • Fighting Fantasy has Serpent People and Lizard Men who are, of course, Always Chaotic Evil. The Demon Princes Ishtra, Myurr and Sith also favour reptillian forms. Downplayed with Suthis Cha and Vermistra, the gods of lizards and snakes, who are described in Titan: The Fighting Fantasy World as a rather selfish form of True Neutral, but not really more so than any other god of the Animal Court. (Suthis Cha created the Lizard Men, but they turned to evil when Myurr corrupted them in his absence. And Verminstra had nothing to do with the Serpent People, who were directly created by Sith.)


By Author

  • Anytime a reptilian character shows up in one of Terry Brooks' books, you can expect raw evil (although Strabo of the Magic Kingdom of Landover 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.
  • 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.
  • Rudyard Kipling's stories invoke the trope only when applied to venomous snakes and crocodiles.
    • In "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", which set the familiar Snake Versus Mongoose archetype which has a pet mongoose defending his guardians' 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 Mugger,note  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.
  • In H. P. Lovecraft's writing, reptiles are a frequent source of horror, most notably in The Nameless City.
  • 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.
  • 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.

By Work

  • 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 The Adventures of Caterpillar Jones, E. Phil Snake tries to eat C.J. and Cat, and is the only evil character in the book.
  • 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 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 as frequently as mammals are. Reptile morphs are very rarely used, and even when they are, they're always snakes.
  • 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 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.
  • Bazil Broketail:
    • Inverted, for the most part. Of all non-human races in the setting, dragons are actually the one which is the closest to humans, being integrated into their society, living and fighting by their side and even being the most friendly on personal levels.
    • This trope is occasionally played straight In-Universe, though, with certain characters who still hold a dislike towards dragons for various reasons, ranging from their monstrous appearance (which makes people outside Argonath consider them mindless animals), to the trouble and cost of their upkeep (which makes them very unpopular among some noblemen, particularly grain mandates who would rather sell their wares on the market rather than contribute to feeding the dragon corps) to downright petty ones like their ostensibly bad smell (according to Porteous Glaves, at least). Then again, since such opinions either stem from ignorance or are shared by characters who are either jerkasses or openly evil, there is no doubt how much value they actually hold.
    • One situation where this trope is played completely straight is the dragon freeze, a natural reaction of a typical human to seeing an adult dragon (and looking him in the eyes in particular). Most people are just immobilized with fear as a consequence. Only those who meet dragons on a daily basis (like dragonboys or other soldiers in the Argonathi legions) are unaffected, though there are also some humans who seem to have an innate immunity to the dragon freeze (like king Choulaput, who looked at Bazil — the first dragon he ever saw in his entire life — and remained calm).
  • 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.
  • Amoridere invokes this with Animal Motifs in her poem Bitten by the Snake, wherein the subject's ex-friend is compared to that of a snake, something predatory, and he's described to be unpleasant.
  • 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 Crapsack World 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.
  • The Builders only has three notable reptilian creatures: a salamander and snake who are both assassins with a high body count, and the Toad Lord, a corpulent toad who's responsible for the current state the country is in.
  • 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.
  • Played with in the novel Chester Cricket's Home, a sequel to The 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.
  • Cradle Series: One of the first antagonistic organizations that Lindon encounters are the Sandviper clan. They first attack him from surprise, with superior numbers, while he and Yerin are much weaker than them, and still use poison and every other dishonorable tactic they can think of. They don't get much better after that.
  • Dark Heavens: "Some of my best friends are snakes."
  • The Death Gate Cycle: Invoked. 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.
  • Destroyermen: 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? It should be noted, however, that the Grik (as they're called) are actually more bird-like than reptile-like, complete with feathers.
  • Dora Wilk Series: One of the primary 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.
  • Dreamsnake: Subverted, invoked, and reconstructed. Someone's violent phobia of snakes gets the titular creature—a tiny, cute, docile alien viper whose venom is a sedative and mild hallucinogen but not lethal—killed and 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.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Raoul Duke has hallucinations of man-eating Lizard Folk when he makes it to the hotel bar.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hoka has two races of reptilian aliens that are presented as universally and unquestionably unpleasant.
  • Hurog: Subverted. 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 intelligent as dragons.
  • 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.
  • Lizard Music: Discussed. The lizards on the island are completely mellow (thanks to television waves), but the narrator is wary of going to the island at first, because of this trope.
  • The Lost World (1995): Exploited by Biosyn. 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.
  • Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape has the Unnd in the first book, "Attack Of The Alien Horde".
  • Pellucidar has 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 turns out that the Mahars — who are deaf and communicate entirely by telepathy — were unaware that humans are sapient.
  • 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.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: A Darkness at Sethanon introduces the Panathathians, 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. Notable for being literally Always Chaotic Evil: they were created by a Vahleru specifically to serve her and are genetically incapable of anything else; even a brand-new hatchling has an inherent hatred for other life.
  • 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.
  • Invoked in A Series of Unfortunate Events by the Baudelaire's second guardian Dr. Montgomery "Uncle Monty" Montgomery, a herptologist who, while he works with various kinds of snakes, overall describes them as misunderstood creatures. He discovers a new species which he names The Incredibly Deadly Viper but is actually nonvenomous and friendly, which he purposely named as a prank to his colleagues in the field.
  • Sherlock Holmes: 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.
  • The Silver Chair: The Queen of Underland 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.
  • Spellsinger: This trope becomes Reptiles Are Stupid; 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. Lizards and snakes also grow large enough to be used for meat and pack animals, nicely averting Carnivore Confusion.
  • 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.
  • Star Trek: Typhon Pact: This trope is discussed at some length in 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?"
  • Stolen Sun: A crocodile swallows the sun (just go with it) and it takes a bear to tear him apart and release it.
  • 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.
  • West of Eden: This is central to the conflict. 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Enterprise introduces the Xindi, an association of species all hailing from the same planet, who the show insists are very closely related genetically, even though they vary wildly in morphology. 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. It’s the Reptilians and Insectoids, and then just the Reptilians when the Insectoids have second thoughts.
    • 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.
      • This trope is subtle but there in the TNG episode "Lonely Among Us." The Enterprise plays host to delegations from two sentient bipedal species: Antican and Selay. The two delegations are at each others' throats from the beginning, and at the end of the episode we learn the Antican delegation has killed a member of the Selayan delegation and wants the Enterprise's chef to help them prepare their victim for a meal. It's all okay, though, because the Anticans are a mammalian species with doglike heads and the Selay are a reptilian species with the heads of cobras. Thus, what might ordinarily strike the audience as a horrifying act of murder and cannibalism is almost played as an "Everybody Laughs" Ending.
      • DS9 also introduced the Jem'hadar, a scaly race of drug-addicted, genetically engineered Super-Soldier fanatics who look like humanoid styracosaurs and worship a race of fascistic shapeshifter space amoebas. And despite this, they're the nicest out of all the races created by the Founders.
    • 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?
    • A surprising subversion with the Gorn, with the one in question 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.
      • Though the trope itself is lampshaded in that episode when Kirk admits: "Like most humans, I seem to have an instinctive revulsion to reptiles."
      • On the other hand, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds plays this trope horrifyingly straight by portraying the Gorn as Always Chaotic Evil; the three episodes thus far that have featured the Gorn are straight-up horror shows. Security Chief La'an Noonien Singh survived being held captive by the Gorn but watched her family and friends get slaughtered; the experience left her severely traumatized.
  • V (1983): The Sirians embody this trope, but more to the point, the show-makers rely on it working on the audience. When they first appear, they are disguised as humans, and the fact that they are actually reptiles hidden behind Latex Perfection is treated as a revelation just as horrifying as their attempt to enslave all of humanity.
  • Sesame Street intentionally avoids the trope, featuring friendly introductions to "scary" animals to assure the kids that they're not mean. There's a song about a friendly snake named Sammy. There is also one about an Alligator king and his seven sons; both song and alligators are pleasant.
  • Farscape:
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Subverted with the Unas. When first introduced, the lizard-like Unas are unquestionably evil. This is 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 (1974).
  • The main Big Bads of Space Cases were the Spung, an Always Chaotic Evil (except for Elmira) race of bipedal reptiles.
  • Kamen Rider has multiple antagonists based on reptiles, most of them Monsters of the Week. Some series also introduce reptile-based Kamen Riders, with the majority of them being outright evil. Examples below:
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki:
      • Kamen Rider Ohja, which means King of Snakes, a Meaningful Name, since his Rider form is based on a cobra. His human identity is Takeshi Asakura, a convicted but escaped murderer who has an unhealthy obsession with fighting. He is easily one of the most evil characters in the show.
      • One of the specials of Ryuki introduces Itsuro Takamizawa AKA Kamen Rider Verde, whose Rider form is based on a chameleon. While he maintains the appearance of a successful businessman, he is no better than the aforementioned Kamen Rider Ohja, as he has no qualms about violently killing everyone standing in his way.
    • Subverted with Taiga Nobori AKA Kamen Rider Saga in Kamen Rider Kiva. He does start out as an antagonist and his armor is based on a snake, but later becomes an ally to the hero.
    • Kamen Rider Build has Blood Stalk, a Kamen Rider-like villain based on a cobra. He has no qualms whatsoever in experimenting on innocent civilians, kill bystanders who stand in his way and even goes as far as to instigate a war between two nations, just to further his agenda.
  • Davy Crockett: A brief scene in the mini-series features Davy up against a few alligators.
  • On the Animal Planet channel:
    • Blatantly invoked in Fatal Attractions (2010), 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 deliberately 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 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.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Ice Warriors were introduced as a villain race, although they eventually became a more sympathetic Proud Warrior Race.
    • In "Kinda" and "Snakedance," the Mara is a hideously evil being that manifests as a giant snake.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Billy the Exterminator: Billy's mother Donnie seems to be a firm believer in this trope; even a small, harmless snake causes her to throw a hysterical fit until the offending serpent is no longer present.

  • The Church's "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.
  • 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.
  • Nine Inch Nails: "The Downward Spiral" has the song "Reptile," which goes:
    She splits herself wide open, to let the insects in
    She leaves a trail of honey, to show me where she's been
    She's got the blood of reptiles, just underneath her skin
    Seeds of a thousand others, drip down from within
  • The Soft Boys' "He's A Reptile," which uses the metaphor to describe a smooth-talking, sharp-dressing, woman-stealing sleazeball.
  • Frank Zappa's song "Frogs with Dirty Little Lips" is a song that's basically about everything that the singer hates about frogs.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The original The Farmer and the Viper, from Aesop's Fables runs on this concept. A woman or a farmer 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 kindhearted 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 — "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 a 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 God 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 embellishments 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", and is often conflated with the serpent in the Garden of Eden in modern interpretations. 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 (whose 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.
  • Consumption of reptiles is prohibited under the rules of both kashruth and halal.
  • In Pacific 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.
  • Chinese Mythology: 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 and Thor vs Jormungandr. It's very common in Indo-European traditions, and the ancestral IE mythology is thus assumed to have had such a myth as well, but similar myths are present in unrelated traditions — Susano'o vs Orochi is a notable example.
  • Filipino superstition plays with this trope; snakes in the home are seen as a bad omen, but small geckos (referred to as "butiki" in Tagalog) in the home are considered good luck. The latter might be because the geckos do a good job of keeping vermin out of the house — although they may also be themselves considered vermin.
  • Zigzagged with Egyptian Mythology, with reptiles as potentially both good and evil. Considering the environment the Ancient Egyptians lived in, perhaps this is to be expected.
    • One the one hand, you have gods such as Wadjet (the cobra goddess), who is the snake often depicted on the pharaoh's crown serving as a guardian, Renenutet (another cobra goddess), associated with fertility, and Sobek (the crocodile god), who is dangerous but venerable.
    • On the other hand, you have the giant Chaos water snake, Apep, who embodies everything the gods stand in opposition of and is an unambiguously evil, destructive entity. Turtles are also associated with Apep, to the point that eating turtle flesh was considered impure among the Egyptians.
    • The basic gist of it therefore seems to be "land reptile = good", "water reptile = bad". Sobek and similar crocodile gods were an exception, although even they were still a case of Good Is Not Nice.


    Print Media 
  • 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 (it was about the nature of mass extinctions).

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

    Puppet Shows 

  • In the Alien Worlds episode "Night Riders of Kalimar", the titular antagonists are described as being reptilian.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Cartoon Action Hour: One of the fictional series, "Warriors of the Cosmos", has a evil snake-human in the form Serpentina, but that tabletop kisses the mouth of 1980s cartoons very hard.
  • Champions has the ubiquitous VIPER criminal organization as well as reptile-themed villains. One is 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.
  • Crimestrikers: One of the villains is Dolores Dedmond, an anthropomorphic rattlesnake. She's an amoral Mad Scientist who creates horrific weapons as well as an arrogant Jerkass.
  • 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 are small, cowardly, and malevolent lizard-people distantly related to dragons.
    • The troglodytes are Chaotic Evil lizard-like humanoids that live underground and raid human settlements to feed on the inhabitants.
    • The Lizard Folk play with this trope. They're often used as antagonists, but their default alignment is True Neutral and they really just want to be left alone.
    • The yuan-ti 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. They're emotionless sociopaths to the last, seek to conquer and dominate all other species, and 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 naga (giant snakes with humanlike heads) are an interesting case; on the one hand, there are several variants, spread all over the Character Alignment chart; on the other, evil variants are usually (depending on edition) more numerous than nonevil ones, and unlike most other human-headed, animal-bodied monsters, in 3e they have the "aberration" creature type, which is usually reserved for either really weird monsters or outright Eldritch Abominations.
    • The bullywug are a race of Chaotic Evil frog-like humanoids. They can be dealt with by tempting them with alcohol ,which they can't resist and so drink until knocked out by severe intoxication.
    • Many demons and devils have something of a reptilian appearance, the marilith being the most well known, appearing as a six-armed woman from the waist up and a huge snake from the waist down. On the flip side, lillends and couatls are heroic celestial beings: couatls being winged snakes with psychic powers while Lillends are beautiful winged women from the waist up and snakes with brilliant, iridescent scales from the waist down.
    • Forgotten Realms: The sarrukh feature a long history... of which a huge chunk boils down to explaining the general tendency towards this trope, as the sarrukh are both the originators of almost every non-draconic reptilian race and their history once their empires were reasonably established was one of moral degeneration and corruption, with good coming mostly as comparatively minor side-effects (such as the move from "honoured Sarrukh sacrifices" to "mass slave sacrifices" — it led to the creation of a good demigodess of purification, but also was a major factor into the corruption and splintering of the World Serpent deity into several mostly-evil gods, such as Merrshaulk).
  • 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.
  • Mutants & Masterminds: It's 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.
  • 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 Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game, 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.
  • Vampire: The Requiem: In the 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).
  • Warhammer Fantasy subverts this: the Lizardmen are mysterious, quite defensive, and have very little empathy or mercy for other species, but are trying hard to protect the world from Chaos. 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 most of their clashes with others are the result of Blue-and-Orange Morality rather than active malice.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 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 Abomination. 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.

  • BIONICLE: The Zyglak. There are 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.
  • Masters of the Universe has the Snake Men, led by King Hiss. They more or less serve as the main villains of the second season in the 2002 animated series, where there isn't a single member of their kind who isn't bloodthirsty and cruel. Skeletor's team also features one - Whiplash the Caligar - although he's an outlier, as his people are otherwise on good terms with the forces of Eternia (notably, the Snake Men also look down on them and don't mind using them as slave labor or food). The 80s toyline also gave He-Man a Lizard Folk ally.

    Visual Novel 

    Web Animation 
  • 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!

    Web Comics 
  • 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 conclusion of this two-parter of Nobody Scores!.
  • Subverted in Legend of Legendary Mighty Knight. Chapter 5 opens with the newly-befriended dragon relaying to the others of how it was driven from its home by a cruel king who wanted its head. When the dragon gets to the part where it had to flee in terror, it breaks down into tears. The dragon didn't initially try to drive the knight and its companions away because it wanted to hurt them- it was just hurting and lonely itself.
  • Lancer: The Knights of Fenris, a Space Opera set in a World of Funny Animals, has the reptilian/dinosaur-ish Drogahri. The ones we've met are Always Chaotic Evil creatures dedicated to war and conquest, causing the mammalian species to join forces against them in self-defense. If any there are any good Drogahri, they haven't appeared yet.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has the aptly-named evil turtle, a soft-shelled turtle who happens to be extremely aggressive. In "The Nest", she has offspring that prove extremely destructive; after the Wattersons release her into the wild, they reason that the turtle wasn't evil, she just wanted to be a good parent... until she and her babies take down a ship, and Anais reasons that it's probably both.
  • 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.
  • In Bilby, the eponymous bilby is introduced by running from a hungry monitor lizard, then on his journey to return an albatross chick to the sea, he encounters a snake, a frilled lizard and a bunch of crocodiles who all try to eat the chick.
  • Brandy & Mr. Whiskers inverts the normal rules for this trope, with a villainous gecko and a kind-hearted boa constrictor.
  • Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars! concerns an interplanetary war between the Toads and various mammal and bird species. In one episode, a guy named Al Negator (a crocodile-like creature called a "Sleazosaur") joins the crew of the Righteous Indignation. Gunner Deadeye Duck is the only one who distrusts him, although Bucky points out his hypocrisy for doing so given Deadeye's own criminal past. It looks like the episode is setting up Deadeye as the complainer, but Al betrays them and steals the ship.
  • 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.
  • Usually played straight in Class of the Titans, except for the God of Harmony, who is a giant pink snake.
  • Baron Silas Greenback, Arch-Enemy of Danger Mouse, is a toad with a penchant for greed.
  • The Family Guy episode, "Lois Comes Out of Her Shell," features a seemingly nice, harmless turtle who turns out to be murderous named Sheldon.
  • Final Space: In "And Into the Fire", Bolo fights one of his evil brethren that are in service to Invictus, a Titan resembling a bipedal lizard.
  • In Fish Hooks, the usual rules for this trope are inverted, with the geckos as antagonists and a friendly rattlesnake.
  • Extremely evident in The Get Along Gang, with Catchum Crocodile constantly bullying the gang, supported by his reluctant sidekick, Leland Lizard. Several episodes included a turtle named Braker as an ancillary member of the Gang, with the Cartoon Over-Analyzations blog describing him as "the Furry equivalent of a Token Minority".
  • G.I. Joe's Big Bad enemy is a terrorist organization called Cobra.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Viper is a master thief. Though she sometimes works with Jackie and the crew, she is still a thief and still steals (and is occasionally given a What the Hell, Hero? by Jackie).
  • 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.
  • Done in-universe in an episode of King of the Hill, Bobby gets a pet snake. This is treated by his family as if he's started practicing Satanism or witchcraft. The snake doesn't actually do anything wrong, but that doesn't stop Animal Control from killing the snake (and brutally, at that) when it escapes.
  • The main villains of Kissyfur are two alligators, Floyd and Jolene, always trying to catch the cubs to eat them.
  • 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.
  • In The Lion Guard, you can expect which reptiles will be aligned with the Lion Guard depending on their stereotype. And thus reptilian villains have been crocodiles, cobras, skinks, and monitor lizards. When it comes to crocodiles, however, this trope is zig-zagged and even deconstructed. Ironically, pythons are the only large reptilian predators to avert this treatment completely. The show seems to make the effort to avoid this only on non-venomous reptiles.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (1995): Delilah the monitor lizard is a recurring villain always plotting to eat the other animals.
  • Cecil Turtle in The Looney Tunes Show. While his original incarnation was a Karmic Trickster who only antagonized Bugs Bunny as a result of the latter instigating their conflicts, this version is an Adaptational Jerkass. His first appearance has him switching off Bugs' cable for his own amusement and dialogue indicates that Bugs is not the first person he has done this to. His second appearance reveals that he scams money out of people by making them think they ran him him over and cracked his shell. He even went as far as trying to kill Bugs and Porky to stop them revealing this information.
  • 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.
  • Played with in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic with reptilian creatures, as it seems for every evil reptile such as Cipactli or the cockatrice, there's a good one like Steven Magnet or Spike. Dragons as a whole are for the most part neutral, save for a couple of truly malignant ones.
  • In Over the Garden Wall, a recurring small black turtle is frequently seen all over the Unknown, and good-aligned characters are often seen harming it, hinting at the negative nature of that kind of fear.
    • In Chapter 1, a snarling dog-creature is revealed to return to the form of a normal pet dog, once it regurgitates a turtle.
    • In Chapter 2, pure young Gregory befriends a group of friendly Civilized Animal schoolchildren, one of whom picks up a turtle and throws it far away.
    • In Chapter 7, Auntie Whispers is seen picking a turtle out from a basket, and then eating it. This seems creepy and weird at first, but as it turns out it's a sign she's not as sinister as she seems.
    • In Chapter 8, it also shows up in Greg's Cloud City dream sequence, in rubberhose cartoon character form - right in front of an old man carrying a lantern, calling to mind the creepy woodsman associated with the show's Big Bad.
    • In Chapter 9, Wirt has a poster for a band called the Black Turtles in his room as he's battling his own fear and anxiety.
    • In Chapter 10, the Fish fisherman hooks up a turtle in the epilogue.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar features a snake named Savio as an antagonist. However, there's also a friendly alligator named Roger and some friendly chameleons.
  • Sam & Max subverts this, wherein the titular duo adopt a discarded baby alligator and nurture it to full size. Despite (or perhaps because of) the terror a giant alligator invokes in their hometown, they have no qualms with keeping it indefinitely, treating the car-sized monstrosity like a common house pet. The gator obliges.
  • Subverted in The Simpsons with Bart's one-off pet snake "Strangles". The instruction manual declares it's pointless to name them because "snakes have poor hearing and live only to strangle", but Strangles is actually friendly to and protective of Bart (the one time he strangles anyone is Homer... to defend Bart from being strangled). In the end Bart is forced to choose between Strangles and Santa's Little Helper, and when he picks the latter Strangles is heartbroken:
    Stranglesnote : If he breaks your heart again, don't bother calling me! ...Oh who am I kidding? I'll always be there for you.
  • If a Trandoshan (a race of Lizard Folk) 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.
  • 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?
  • TaleSpin:
    • Played straight in the 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 lizard as he appears, but a giant snake. Shocking, considering that the rest of the population of the world are bipedal, anthropomorphic animals.
    • Another recurring villain in the series was a crocodile named Trader Moe, who clashed with Baloo and co. on more than one occasion.
    • There was also a one-shot villain named Dr. Axolotl. He was, as his name suggests, a salamander, and he created a Killer Robot to kidnap Shere Khan.
  • 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 antiheroes 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...
    • The 2003 series has two fused villains use a time scepter to transport the turtles to 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!"
    • For its part, the 2012 series has an interesting case when Karai accidentally gets mutated into a snake creature. She initially has trouble keeping her sense of self and attacks anyone on sight until the Turtles reach out to her. Then Shredder has her brainwashed into servitude for a while by using mind worms. When that's undone, she finally becomes more of a reptilian antihero. Her entire situation is sympathetic, all in all.
  • 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.
  • Top Wing does it pretty blatantly. There are four crocodile characters in the series, and all of them are evil. The only good reptile is...surprise, surprise...a turtle.
  • T.U.F.F. Puppy has Francisco the crocodile, a member of DOOM, and The Chameleon.
  • In The Wild Thornberrys, crocodilians and snakes are always a menace to Eliza even while she's speaking to them. Even dangerous mammal predators, such as big cats, wolves, and bears, are usually depicted as at least being able to be reasoned with, but reptile predators are invariably threatening.
  • 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 (dragon/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.)


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Alternative Title(s): Toads Are Abhorrent, Amphibians Are Abhorrent


Birth of Wrath-Amon

In an attempt to gain a more competent minion, Ram-Amon transformed his pet Stygian Gila Monster into a powerful, evil, and intelligent anthropomorphic lizard. Unfortunately, his attempt worked too well as his new minion usurped him, becoming known as...Wrath-Amon.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

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Main / UpliftedAnimal

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