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Reptilian Conspiracy

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"Snake people, or 'Sneople', control our government at the highest levels!"

Lizard Folk and Snake People. 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 from the Age of Reptiles dwelling Beneath the Earth or in the Hollow Earth (possibly with Domesticated Living Dinosaurs), demons, or Ancient Astronauts 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 and Snake People to be Always Chaotic Evil and to fall under Reptiles Are Abhorrent. They may be, or make, Half-Human Hybrids. Unfortunately, as with a lot of conspiracy theories, this trope has a worrying tendency to veer into antisemitic territory, often at least presenting the Reptilians as Space Jews, if not outright claiming that actual Jews are either the Reptilians themselves or their (witting or unwitting) pawns.

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, Eyes Are Mental, or Immune to Mind Control (The 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 doubly 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 The Conspiracy, Scaled Up, and either Lizard Folk or Snake People.

In-Universe Examples Only, please.


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    Anime & Manga 

    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 reporter of the conspiracies in Buckingham Palace before faking his death at the hands of the conspiracy. He suggests that Kennedy arranged his own assassination with The Greys and the reptilians (with a literal Magic Bullet) 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. In fact it was all BS intendedto scare the reporter away from a perfectly mundane drug-smuggling operation in the palace.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight has the Dystopians, reptilian British demons who've built an empire in Hell after being damned for the sin of imperialism (that is, rape, torture, pillage and other genocides committed in the name of Empire). They also have connections in the Vatican, having a pipeline that delivers holy water to Resurrection (being a potent weapon against evil, it's very much in demand by evil factions looking to get rid of their rivals).
  • 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.
  • Lizard Music is a juvenile novel by Daniel Pinkwater in which a boy watching television very late at night learns about, and eventually gets to visit, an island of friendly lizard people.
  • Dungeon Crawler Carl: Mordecai uses this as part of a metaphor to explain how the city elves are like those crazies who thought aliens and reptilians secretly controlled everything. Note that Mordecai is himself an alien who has been hiding on Earth for decades.
    Carl: But... you guys were secretly manipulating things behind the scenes.
    Mordecai: Psh, yeah, but not the reptilians. Those guys, run a shadow government? The last one I knew couldn't even run a fantasy football league.

    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 
  • Dragon Rekindled: Various Reptilian conspiracies through history have been organizations of Oroboroi.
  • 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: Reptoids are 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.
  • Some of the Ascended in Feng Shui are essentially snakes in human form. Like all transformed animals in this game, they are animals that used magic in order to assume human form, and very much want to stay human, which is why their Ancient Conspiracy is dedicated to keeping magic as low as possible — it's the only way to revert them to their original animal forms, and reversion is generally a one-way trip.
  • 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: Reptoids are an unimaginably ancient species of apparently immortal shape-shifting reptilian bipeds from a plane of reality beyond four-dimensional space-time. They can alter their physical forms into visually perfect copies of any carbon-based life form they touch. Their plots often focus on placing reptoid hybrids in positions of power, where they can deliberately manage cultural and technological developments to ensure long-term ascendance to a properly ordered society: to the reptoids, this usually means political or corporate autocracy.
  • 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 Troodon, 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 

  • 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.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Zardax has the titular king of such a conspiracy in the midst of depression, because for all they do to undermine democracy, control banks and start wars for their own purposes, Jews still get all the credit instead.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Steven Universe: In "Keep Beach City Weird", it's revealed that Ronaldo blames all the crazy happenings in town on snake people, or "sneople", who secretly control the world. He's initially disappointed to find out it's all because of the Gems (to whom the citizens of Beach City are Fantastically Indifferent), but at the end of the episode Ronaldo is inspired to make up a (surprisingly accurate) conspiracy theory about "polymorphic sentient rocks".
  • Parodied in Futurama, where the Pope is a Reptilian just like in many a conspiracy theory. The difference is that this is known by everyone, to the point of being a variation of "Is the Pope Catholic?", since aliens are commonplace. Also, he's the Space Pope of the First Amalgamated Church, making it a possible Invoked Trope.
  • In one Robot Chicken sketch, it's shown most Hollywood celebrities are actually disguised lizard people infiltrating and manipulating human civilization. Except for Mel Gibson, who is not a lizard, but really, really wants to be one.
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, all the high-level executives at the world domination bent Mega-Corp Conglom-O (including the CEO, Mr. Dupette) are lizards with a habit of picking their noses.
  • The Justice League episode "Eclipsed" has the Ophidians, who fought humanity "before cities, before writing", and whose spirits now form a Sealed Evil in a Can and possess people. They're clearly meant as an Alternate Company Equivalent of Conan's Serpent Men, merged with classic DC villain Eclipso.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode episode "Aliens Among Us" has Conspiracy Theorist Angie Dinkley claim that the Reptilians are one of the major alien races, and have settled in a city in the center of the Earth.
  • According to Inside Job (2021), a secret society of shape-shifting Lizard Folk known as Reptoids exists within our own, and they are a major source of funding for Cognito Inc. (namely by paying them not to do anything about global warming so the world will stay at their preferred temperature). They're rather open about their desire to Take Over the World to the other species in on The Masquerade with them, but The Illuminati doesn't take them seriously.
  • This trope is briefly alluded to in the first episode of The Owl House when Luz's mother is trying to convince her that going to summer camp would be good for her by asking if she has any friend that aren't "imagined, or drawn, or reptilian". Funnily enough, a shapeshifting snake demon ends up taking Luz's place on Earth only a couple minutes after this conversation takes place, though she's completely benign (even going on to be Luz's adoptive sister) and she's actually an escaped lab experiment rather than being part of a conspiracy.


Video Example(s):

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



Many powerful people and celebrities are secretly reptilians in human suits.

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