Snakes have inspired a fair number of Pokemon. Sometimes, the connection is both simple and straightforward. Other times, the connection has skipped a step in the sense that the Pokemon is based on something that was itself based on a snake. Whatever the case, there have been some very memorable snake Pokemon. Here are five of the best snake Pokemon:
Arbok comes from Generation I. As a result, it is one of the earliest snake Pokemon to be released. For those who are curious, Arbok starts out as the Posion Ekans before evolving by leveling up. Chances are good that most people will think of rattlesnakes when they see Ekans because of the very noticeable rattle on its tail. However, it is clear that other snakes have influenced its creation as well. For example, Ekans is an egg-eater, which is relevant because rattlesnakes eat small birds, small mammals, and other small animals. Likewise, Ekans has a ring that is very reminiscent of the ring-necked snake. Similarly, Arbok takes inspiration from a number of snakes. Its shape is a clear reference to cobras, but its size is reminiscent of the king cobra while its venom is reminiscent of the Indian cobra. As for its constriction, Arbok is based on snakes such as boas and pythons that use a very different hunting strategy. Regardless, Arbok is an excellent example of a Pokemon that looks like a real world creature but has a fantastical feature. In its case, this would be the face on the front of its hood, which has caused some to speculate that it took inspiration from basilisks as well. Something that would explain why Arbok is in the Dragon Egg Group.
Speaking of which, there is another snake Pokemon from Generation I that merits mention here, which would be Dragonair. In short, Dragonair evolves from Dratini and evolves into Dragonite. However, it is interesting in that it has much more universal appeal than its evolution, which has met with a much more mixed reception from the very start. This is because Dragonair is an elegant, serpent-like creature. In contrast, Dragonite is a very clumsy-looking though very huggable-looking dragon in the western style. Something that can make for a fair amount of whiplash. Some people might wonder why Dragonair is on this list even though it is based on a dragon rather a snake. If so, they should remember that dragons are based on snakes. After all, the very term comes from the Greek dracones, which were pretty much supernatural snakes of enormous size that boasted one or more fantastical feature. Examples included but were by no means limited to sharp teeth, sturdy scales, and multiple heads.
Milotic was one of the stand-outs from Generation III. Appearance-wise, it looks like a sea serpent with a number of extra characteristics incorporated from other marine creatures. One example would be the oarfish, which is thought to have provided Milotic with its length. Another example would be any number of marine creatures with brilliant and otherwise beautiful scales, which provided Milotic with exactly that. As for why Milotic is called Milotic, it should come as no surprise to learn that it is inspired by the Venus de Milo, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful sculptures ever made. Amusingly, Milotic has a very strong connection with dragons as well. For those who are curious, Generation I had Magikarp, which were either useless or next-to-useless on their own but could be evolved into the much more ferocious Gyarados. This was a clear reference to a Chinese legend claiming that a carp could turn into a dragon by swimming up the Yellow River before jumping over the falls at Dragon Gate, which was so challenging that no more than a very small number of carp ever managed to make it. Something that served as a metaphor for success in the civil service examinations held under Imperial China. Milotic is a kind of Generation III counterpart. This can be seen in how its previous form is Feebas, which is as ugly as Milotic is beautiful. However, this evolution line wasn’t a perfect one-for-one match for its spiritual predecessor. For proof, look no further than the fact that Magikarp were ridiculously common in Generation I whereas Feebas had to be searched for square-by-square in Generation III.
On its own, Seviper isn’t very interesting. In fact, if one isn’t very familiar with them, one might confuse Ekans for Seviper and vice versa because both are purple-colored snake Pokemon. Having said that, it should come as no surprise to learn that Seviper is based on vipers. This can be seen in its long fangs, which enable the kind of deep penetration that is useful for the injection of venom. Furthermore, this can be seen in Seviper’s color patterns that resemble those of the elegant pitviper. In any case, Seviper’s appeal lies in the fact that it is one of a pair, with its counterpart being the mongoose Pokemon called Zangoose. This can sound very strange. However, while mongooses tend to eat eggs, carrion, and small animals, some mongoose species have managed to pick up a formidable reputation for killing venomous snakes. Something that is facilitated by their fast reflexes, their thick coats, and their resistance to snake venoms. As such, it is no wonder that Seviper and Zangoose are formidable rivals in the Pokemon setting, which is very interesting because both of them are much more enthusiastic about it than their real world counterparts.
Onix appealed to a lot of Generation I players. After all, it was big, bulky, and brutal-looking, meaning that it was the kind of Pokemon that seemed perfect for those who wanted the toughest Pokemon team possible. In practice, well, suffice to say that Onix performed exactly as well as what most people would expect from a staple of the very first Pokemon Gym in the long-running series. As such, Onix needed an upgrade, which came in the form of the much sleeker, much more dangerous-looking Steelix in Generation II. Of course, Steelix isn’t a perfect example of a snake Pokemon. After all, real world snakes are made out of flesh and bone rather than some kind of magical, diamond-like substance. However, Steelix’s snakiness is not in doubt, seeing as how it learns moves such as Bind and Crunch alongside Rock and Ground-type staples such as Stealth Rock and Earthquake. Having said that, one suspects that being bitten or constricted by a Steelix would be even more unpleasant than being bitten or constricted by a real world snake. Never mind what would happen if the Steelix was a Mega Steelix.