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Reptilian Conspiracy

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Lizard Folk. They seem shifty. They have a snake's hypnotic-seeming eyes, and they do weird things like shed their skin. Everyone says they aren't real, but how can we be sure? What if they're just hiding and controlling our society from the shadows?

This is an idea that's bounced back and forth between fiction and the fringes of Conspiracy Theories for about a century now.

They may be an Alien Invasion, an ancient race dwelling Beneath the Earth or in the Hollow Earth (possibly descended from Living Dinosaurs), demons, or Ancient Aliens descended from the dinosaurs living underground pretending to be demons. Often they're here To Serve Man, and they're even more likely than most Lizard Folk to be Always Chaotic Evil and compared to snakes. They may be, or make, Half-Human Hybrids - although there's a worrying tendency for this to end up "explaining" why Jewish people are monsters in the more out-there conspiracy theories.

They're typically, although not always, using some sort of Human Disguise so that They Look Like Us Now - which sometimes becomes the only element of this trope present if they're not actually hiding. These mean you have a whole race of Shapeshifting Tricksters using Voluntary Shapeshifting, Psychic Powers, Holograms, Illusion Magic, Mass Hypnosis, Glamour, Genuine Human Hide, Demonic Possession, a Mind-Control Conspiracy, Hypnotic Eyes, Subliminal Advertising etc. Common tropes here are The Corruption, Artificial Hybrid or Transformation of the Possessed (if they convert humans into Reptilians), Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder, Weirdness Censor, and Invisible to Normals (for more mental/illusion-based disguises) Glamour Failure, EyesAreMental, or Immune to Mind Control (hero - and the audience - have to identify them somehow), Kill and Replace (an easy way to take over - present in the original King Kull story from 1929), Deprogram (when it's especially hard to free yourself from their control).


Since this is such a ridiculed real-world conspiracy theory, it may be Invoked and Discussed to demonstrate how crazy a Conspiracy Theorist character is - and sometimes Double Subverted if The Cuckoolander Was Right and they really do exist.

Trope Maker was Robert E. Howard in his Kull story "The Shadow Kingdom" for Weird Tales in August 1929.

A sub-trope of Lizard Folk, The Conspiracy, and Scaled Up.

In-Universe Examples Only, please.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • One of the Doraemon movies deal with Lizard Folk whose civilization thrives Beneath the Earth and erase the memories of those who discover them, and are planning to alter history so it's them and not the humans who flourish above ground. The finale of the movie has them agree to stay under the earth because Doraemon's future gadgets saved their ancestors from extinction.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics:
    • The Badoon, Skrulls and Snarks. Marvel also has the original Serpent-Men, borrowed from Conan in the days when he had a comic there.
    • The Ultimates has the Chitauri, who are a Darker and Edgier reimagining of the Skrulls.
  • DC Comics has the Gordanians and Psions, who both terrorize Starfire's home system of Vega, abducting the natives and experimenting on them. Despite their name, the Psions aren't psychic, just extremely advanced.
    • Batman Odyssey has a race of dinosaur-men from the Hollow Earth who can pass for human. Batman's sidekick Primus turn out to be secretly one of them.
    • One issue of Hellblazer (during the short-lived run by Warren Ellis) has John Constantine telling a gullible reporter some tall tales of conspiracies before faking his death at the hands of the conspiracy. He suggests that Kennedy arranged his own assassination with The Greys and the reptilians because he caught his wife getting it on with a snake demon and enjoying it, and that The British Royal Family are also secretly snake demons and killed Princess Diana because she was secretly impregnated by one of them.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight has the Dystopians, reptilian British demons who've built an empire in Hell after being damned for the sin of imperialism. They also have connections in the Vatican.
  • Neil Gaiman's Teknophage is from an ancient race of demonic dinosaur aliens. He builds up civilizations only to corrupt them and use them to process the inhabitants for Human Resources.
  • Saucer Country has these abduct the protagonist.


  • The Trope Maker was Robert E. Howard in his Kull story "The Shadow Kingdom" for Weird Tales in August 1929. These humanoid Serpent-men predate humanity, and go through cycles of taking over human society using their illusions and being forced out when humans discover them.
    • They've also made their way into many Conan the Barbarian stories by other authors, which are in the same setting just a little later.
    • Since the Conan and Kull stories take place in a prehistoric Cthulhu Mythos, the Serpent-Men have been used in a number of stories by Mythos writers, generally attached to the snake-god Yig.
  • In the science fiction novel Nation of the Third Eye by K.K. Savage, there is the reptilian race of Draconians. They live in a higher astral dimension but can also enter physicality at will. Needless to say, they are among the bad guys.
  • Invoked by the Pervects of the fantasy Myth Adventures series, "demons" who are green-scaled, sharp-toothed humanoids from the dimension Perv. Although they look the part, most Pervects aren't so much evil as rude, pushy, and egotistical; their racial reputation for being decadent, cruel and bloodthirsty is mostly propaganda, disseminated by the Pervects themselves to discourage non-Pervect freeloaders from immigrating to their wealthier, more advanced dimension.
  • Within the early fantasy genre, one very unique forerunner of this trope is the Green Lady, C. S. Lewis's central villain in The Silver Chair (the fourth Narnia book published, and the sixth in terms of In-Universe chronology). From within her Elaborate Underground Base, the Lady subtly acquires power through governmental infiltration and mind control, and she alternates between a regular human form and a Scaled Up form. Of course, since this largely remained an Unbuilt Trope back in The '50s, the Lady bears many differences from this trope as we know it today. For example, her reptilian form isn't humanoid like most examples today, but rather a massive venomous snake. Also, instead of being a whole species of invaders, the Lady is the only example that we see. Lewis never reveals her origins beyond vaguely hinting that she could be somehow connected to the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, nor does he specify whether her original form is humanoid, reptilian, or something else entirely.
  • In Alien Secrets, the race the humans calls the Saurians are one of the three known alien races (alongside the Nordics and The Greys) and are the only race to be truly extraterrestrial. The other two are Ultraterrestrials from different time periods in the future (about 11,000 years and a million years, respectively). They first made contact with the Nazis (who called them the Eidesche, "lizards") in The '30s, after one of their ships crash-landed in the Black Forest with only a single survivor. Since they're a telepathic Hive Mind, more Eidesche followed and offered to help the Nazis develop advanced aircraft using Artificial Gravity and other alien tech (apparently, had the war lasted a little longer, the Nazis would have had the weapons they needed to crush the Allies once and for all). After the fall of Berlin, the man in charge of the secret program fled on an experimental space/time vehicle called Die Glocke ("the bell"), piloted by an Eidesche. The vehicle traveled 20 years into the future and landed in Kecksburg, PA, where it was retrieved by the Americans.
  • In Ray Nelson's short story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning" and its comic book adaptation "Nada", the aliens infiltrating Earth are firmly reptilian - unlike it's more famous film adaptation, They Live, where they look more like zombie things.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar series has what may qualify as an Unbuilt Trope - a telepathic dinosaur-ish Giant Flyer race, the Mahar, descended from pterosaurs and living in the Hollow Earth.
  • Inverted in the Speculative Documentary book All Tomorrows by Nemo Ramjet - one of the successors of mankind is a race known as the Saurosapients, which evolved from large lizards brought to a tropical planet by humans. They were once the livestock of a minimally-intelligent species of genetically modified human, who degenerated to become their livestock after the reptiles out-evolved them. Saurosapients are neither evil nor very human-like in general appearance (more like featherless raptors), but their society grows paranoid that an alien race will wipe them out like the humans before them. It's presumed that robot humans did wipe them out eventually, along with many other races that were human-descended.
  • Andre Norton's Zacathans are highly intelligent, extremely civilized, and tend to be top-level Intelligentsia (having very long lifespans gives them lots of time to learn a lot of stuff). And they're still outstanding fighters if they have to be, due to reptile hide and very long teeth. (Oh yes, and the highest known psi rating in the galaxy, which they keep a Dark Secret.)
  • Anonymous Rex had some dinosaurs surviving their mass extinction. They adapted to human society by disguising themselves as people.
  • Terry Brooks' Shannara series has the Mwellrets. They're actually a subspecies of Troll, that survived in the swamps instead of the northern mountains. They have hypnotic eyes, limited control of magic, and a penchant for Fantastic Racism. One of the few species that has so far been Always Chaotic Evil.
  • The Sword of Truth has Mriswith, a race that came from a Gone Horribly Right attempt to give wizards invisibility. They also overlap with Bee People, since, though covered with scales and possessing Chameleon Camouflage, they procreate through a dragon sized, pheromone communicating Hive Queen.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy introduces a robot in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish that comes from a planet where "the people are people and the leaders are lizards". Everyone knows they're lizards, but they keep voting for them anyway because otherwise the wrong lizard might win.
  • The Heralds of False Light: As a Conspiracy Kitchen Sink setting, naturally these show up in the form of the Lacertans, who rule the continent of Lemuria.
    "Great, first the Illuminati and now reptilians. What other conspiracy theory are we going up against?"
  • Angel Down, Sussex, a short story about alien abduction from the perspective of 1920s villagers, has one of the "faerie" abductors that switches between human and Lizard Folk form.
  • Rebel Planet has an Inverted Trope where the humans are conspiring to undermine and rebel against the reptilian aliens, who conquered them centuries ago.
  • Terre en fuite has a race of reptilian aliens called the R'hneh'er who use Mind Control to manipulate other civilizations and eat humans. Unusually,they were a stone age society before encountering humans to manipulate.
  • The Legacy of Totalitarianism in a Tundra - as part of a Conspiracy Kitchen Sink.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The Silurians and Sea Devils were native to Earth, long ago, and plot to reclaim it. The human-skin-wearing predatory Slitheen also qualify, although they're smooth-skinned and look more like huge clawed frogs or something than lizards.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Saurians were evil and they were also able to take human form. Exposing them to cold stripped away the disguise and revealed their true form.
  • Grimm: Various reptilian Wesen are lizard-like; most noably for our purposes the glow-in-the-dark alien-like Gluhenvolk. Like all Wesen they can take human form of course.
  • CSI had an episode dealing with this trope, "Leapin' Lizards", where the dead guy of the week was a believer in a reptilian conspiracy. Their website is shown, with several world leaders morphing into reptilians, and one of the guys hallucinates Brass with a reptilian tongue and Greg with reptilian characteristics-which leads to Greg being bitten.
  • The Visitors from V (1983) are arguably the Trope Codifiers. They infiltrate many parts of human society, and they want to eat us (along with other tasty mammals). Rather than shapeshifting, however, they use fake human-like skin to mask their true appearance, a method best exemplified by the iconic shot of Diana peeling back the skin on one side of her face to reveal green scaly skin and a catlike eye. It should be noted that, aside from inspiring the creation of other fictional Reptilians, V encouraged the conspiracy theories about Reptilians, which were practically nonexistent before the show aired.
  • The V (2009) reboot series was much the same, except the Visitors were more of a combination of yucky reptile-people and icky bug-people. The reboot also has them literally grafting human skin onto their scales. One form of punishment for the Vs is to be skinned alive, which causes just as much pain as it would a human, since the grafted skin has perfectly working nerves. There's also the possibility of interbreeding between humans and Vs.
  • In War of the Worlds (1988), the Martians are essentially turned into the aforementioned Visitors. Except that they're body snatchers.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In the episode "Birthright", a U.S. Senator escapes from his security detail after his own men try to kill him, and gradually gets weird warts and such. It turns out that a race of reptiloid aliens had sent spies to study humans and the spies are turning back after the disguise wears off. The horror factor is the spies themselves didn't know they were aliens.
  • Lost Tapes has two episodes focused on Lizard Folk: one where they're living in the sewers and eating people, and one where they're wearing hoodies and organizing parties where teenagers go missing but higher-ups in the police Destroy the Evidence.
  • One trailer for Scrubs exactly duplicates ABC's own V... until the spaceship shows J.D.'s face instead of Anna's. He announces Scrubs is back to general rejoicing, then adds "By the way, these people are lizards."
  • People of Earth is a Work Com all about aliens plotting to invade the Earth. One of the three species of the "Trinity Federation" are reptilian "Greens" who are usually assigned to disguise themselves as humans, even though one of the other Trinity species (the "Whites") are Human Aliens.
  • Ancient Aliens has an episode unironically about this, complete with an appearance from David Icke.

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic plays a Conspiracy Theorist in his music video for "Foil" (a parody of Lorde's "Royal"). At the end of the video, the Reptilian turns out to be the director of the music video (played by Patton Oswalt).
  • The Bear Hands song Reptilians is about this trope.
  • The Something Wicked Saga by Iced Earth is told from the point of view of the Setians, a race of Reptilian Humanoids who were indigenous to Earth and nearly got wiped out by invading humans, but have brainwashed us to forget our alien origins and infiltrated our society.
  • The Faceless' Concept Album Planetary Duality is all about reptilian aliens controlling society.
  • B.o.B's 2016 single "Flatline" is an unironic rant about how the Earth is flat attacking Neil deGrasse Tyson, NASA the Freemasons, and the Jews, as well as touching on this trope.
  • Melvins' music video for "The Talking Horse" has a Mind Screw of a plot that seems to spoof conspiracy theories about the Illuminati and reptiloids, then throws in lip-syncing scenery for good measure.
  • Filthy Frank's song "Flex like David Icke" is about this and other conspiracy theories.

  • On Opie & Anthony, Louis C.K. asked Donald Rumsfeld if he and Dick Cheney were part of a Reptilian conspiracy to control the world. Donald declined to answer.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Among the various Snake People, Lizard Folk, and Draconic Humanoids in the game, the serpentine yuan-ti stand out as this trope due to their penchant for sending "purebloods" (low-ranking individuals who look mostly human) into human society as spies.
  • Pathfinder and Starfinder has Reptoids, a race of shapeshifting infiltrators from another planet or dimension (they refuse to divulge their origins even under duress, so it is somewhat unclear) who seek to prepare the target world for invasion.
  • Achtung! Cthulhu's serpent people transfer the spirits of their dead back into new human bodies. Once the spirit takes over its new host, it begins to undergo an internal Transformation of the Possessed, though on the surface it still appears to be human. These half-human "jian" possess all of the memories and abilities of their host, combined with the abilities of the serpent people, and are used to interact with humans and infiltrate human society.
  • Shapeshifting reptilians are one of the sample cryptids in Demon: The Descent, serving as equal-opportunity minions to demonic and angelic conspiracies. However, they're LovableCowards who drop their disguises and flee and the first sign of danger.
  • Delta Green's Serpent-folk use hypergeometry to masquerade undetected as humans, and are one of the most insidious threats to Delta Green.
  • Wicked Fantasy's Kuba-Chubisi are a benevolent example, who have used magic to assume mostly-human forms in order to secretly walk amongst humans and guide their civilization to attain levels of nobility and honor that they hope will allow humanity to defeat the Uz.
  • World War Cthulhu has standard Cthulhu Mythos serpent-people who are finding it hard to stay undercover when conspiracy theorists keep spotting them.
  • TimeWatch - ancient time-travelling Reptoids from beyond our dimension who can copy any carbon-based life-form with a touch.
  • The End of the World - one of the possible antagonists in Alien Invasion, they control an Ancient Conspiracy.
  • Moon Dust Men - a variety of possible explanations for them are given, including the descendants of the dinosaurs, aliens who merely resemble Earth reptiles, or shapeshifting dimension-travellers infiltrating our ranks by cannibalism and sorcery.
  • Dragon Rekindled - they're actually an organization of Oroboroi, humans who have consumed the Hearts of Dragons to gain their power, and the players can join.
  • Genius: The Transgression, being based on mad science, has these in the Third Race. They are manes (creatures made when the idea behind them was disproven- these guys came to life when everyone realized that there wasn't a hidden continent populated by lizard people) who formerly lived in the Bardo of Lemuria, before they ret-goned it by screwing with Time Travel. They formed the Baramins of Lemuria to steer scientific development so their home could come about again, but they were overthrown by human Genii in a process beginning in the Renaissance. The race is now dying out, with the few remaining members in hiding.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The Alien archetype. Most of the members have some sort of lizard-like attributes to them, and they are all Reptile-type. Their card artworks depict things like brainwashing, experimentation, and planetary invasion.
    • There is also the Worm archetype. While they don't have much in the way of reptilian features, they are also extraterrestrial invaders, and are likely Reptile-type because of this trope.

    Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Discussed by Trevor's friend Nervous Ron, who believes that there are reptilian creatures disguised as humans manipulating events around the world.
  • Metaphobia has the player character investigating his father's assasination and suspecting an ancient Reptilian conspiracy may be behind it. He ultimately is transformed into one of them himself.
  • Dark Void: The Watchers are manipulative shapeshifting reptilians exiled into Another Dimension by early humans. In keeping with this trope, their life cycle is based on metamorphosis: they emerge from the egg as larval, wormlike hatchlings, and they pilot Powered Armor suits as basic mooks. As they get older and more intelligent, they grow arms and legs and become more snake-like; they also get to pilot something like an alien Humongous Mecha. Finally, the Elder form is the most intelligent, and can shapeshift to perfectly mimic a human appearance. These serve as spies in human society and leaders for the rest of the species.
  • The Skedar from Perfect Dark bear some similarities to the Reptilians, being bipedal, dinosaur-like creatures who masquerade as Scandinavian men. Their offspring resemble tiny, vicious lizards.
  • In ZombiU, The Prepper seriously believes that the Queen is one of them.
  • Deis/Bleu in the Breath of Fire series is a snake person, but her entry in Breath of Fire IV shows her to be a shapeshifter goddess. She is also a rare heroic example, if a bit of The Hedonist.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the Thin Men are a reptilian species that have been genetically-modified to resemble humans in order to serve as infiltration units. XCOM 2 wheeled out the Vipers, a race of sexy lady snakes, the Thin Men's true form.
  • Dying Light has ConspiracyTheorists who believe the Zombie Apocalypse was sent by reptilian aliens called Gadoids. They've built a laser gun designed to fight them but it has no effect on any actual enemies in the game, suggesting they were just crazy.
  • Conduit 2 John Adams and his faction are secretly lizard aliens.
  • Possible in Stellaris, since there are many reptilian portraits and one of the options when dealing with pre-spaceflight species is infiltrating them. On the other hand, playing as humanoids and infiltrating a reptilian species gets you an achievement.

  • Trying Human has a creepily adorable take on these among the alien races, called Reptoids. They're divided into two main subspecies: Draconian and Terran Reptoids. The long-tailed Terran Reptoids evolved from Troodon dinosaurs and were uplifted by the winged Draconian Reptoids, making them forever indebted to their benefactors. Both sub-races are capable of shape-shifting and enjoy eating meat, including human.
  • Reptilis Rex is centered around the "Reptoids" being forced to move to the surface and reveal themselves to mankind, which treats them like second class citizens. They can't shapeshift per se but own shapeshifting pets which they can wear as masks, hence there have been an unknown number of Reptoid infiltrators throughout history including Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
  • They make a brief appearance in Rasputin Barxotka, with their planned invasion of Earth thwarted by the strip's version of The Greys.
  • Hackbent - Nohmyt, a fan-species of super-intelligent lizard aliens that can shapeshift based on the Kanamit.
  • Tales of MU has Celia, a snake-person who focuses on cosmetic illusions.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Secret Reptilian Overlords, Reptilians Conspiracy


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