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Snake and Serpent Tropes

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Left to right, top to bottom: a young Indian cobra, Kaa from The Jungle Book (1967), an amphisbaena from Dungeons & Dragons, an emerald tree boa, a European water snake, and the titular dragon from The Bride of the Lindorm King.
Tropes pertaining to snakes, serpents, and slithery reptiles in general.

Despite the name, Smug Snake does not go here. Why Did It Have to Be Snakes? can involve snakes, but doesn't have to.


  • Basilisk and Cockatrice: The basilisk of antiquity was depicted as the king of serpents, and many modern works follow suit.
  • Feather Boa Constrictor: Wearing a snake as though it's a fashion accessory, typically like a scarf.
  • Feathered Serpent: A snake or snake-like creature with feathers and/or avian wings.
  • Knotty Tentacles: Despite the name, this often involves snakes getting tied or tangled up like ropes.
  • Orochi: An eight-headed and -tailed serpent from Japanese mythology.
  • Our Hydras Are Different: The Lernaean Hydra was a many-headed snake, and modern hydras often sport ophidian traits.
  • Ouroboros: A snake biting its own tail; a symbol of infinity and cycles.
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  • Scaled Up: Characters taking on a more reptilian form, oftentimes a snake.
  • Sea Serpents: Giant, serpentine sea monsters.
  • Segmented Serpent: Snakes and similar creatures whose long bodies are depicted as a series of discrete segments.
  • Serpent of Immortality: Snakes associated with immortality, rejuvenation, rebirth and youth.
  • Snake Versus Mongoose: The traditional mortal enmity of snakes and mongooses.
  • Snake Charmer: A character who can hypnotize snakes, usually with flute music.
  • Snake People: Snake-like humanoids; these may have legs or they may slither on serpentine tails or trunks.
  • Snake Pit: A large hole with snakes in it, perfect for disposing of meddlesome do-gooders.
  • Snakes Are Sexy: Snakes associated with sexual themes.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Snakes portrayed as creepy or evil creatures.
  • Somewhere, a Herpetologist Is Crying: When snakes are depicted with Artistic License – Biology.
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  • Sssssnake Talk: Sssspeaking by holding your ssssibilantssss like a hissssing ssssnake.
  • Tsuchinoko: A mythical Japanese creature resembling a fat, burrowing snake.


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