Tuesday 21st October is Reptile Awareness Day. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking: it was barely a month ago that we celebrated Iguana Awareness Day. Well, what can I say? I guess we just love our cold-blooded, egg-laying cousins that much, what with there also being a Serpent Day early on in the year. It’s like a dry, green, scaly orgy. But anyway.
Seeing how I have free rein over what I write about on here (thanks, DOTY boss), I decided to pick out my favourite reptiles from books, TV and the big screen. And before you ask: no, I haven’t included the basilisk or Voldemort’s pet from Harry flippin’ Potter. I’m sorry, but you’re just going to have to muggle on through.
First up is the crocodile from Peter Pan, who you can hear approaching from a mile away thanks to the clock he swallowed along with one of Captain Hook’s hands. He’s especially lovable in the 1953 Disney film, skipping across the water on his tail and grinning like crazy. After all, the poor guy’s just hungry for the main course after his starter of sharp mechanical components and raw human flesh.
He’s big, he’s mean, collateral damage is obscene. There have been numerous incarnations of Godzilla, from the original 1954 Japanese movie to the 2014 blockbuster, which smashed its $160m budget by taking $525m at the box office. But do you remember the film from 1998? That’s probably still my favourite. Matthew Broderick alongside Hank Azaria and Jean Reno, with a great track by Puff Daddy at the end: what’s not to love?
One of the more obscure characters in this list is the shirt-wearing crocodile from Round the Bend, a bizarre kids show that ran on British TV from 1989-91. Doc Croc had the voice of a classic bobby on the beat and was in charge of the three rats who shared his sewer: Vaudeville Vince Vermin, Jemimah Wellington-Green and Luchetti Bruchetti. With satirical humour that bordered on the inappropriate, this was top quality viewing for a young and impressionable generation.
The Flintstones’ prehistoric pet (and the original purple dinosaur that was on the scene way before Barney and his educational songs), Dino annoyed me quite a bit as a kid. It wasn’t his tendency to whine or even the complete lack of a carnivorous inclination; it was that he ripped through the roof of the family car every… single… episode!
Wearing nothing but a pair of sneakers, Bob is a dinosaur in the Dilbert world who survived extinction by hiding behind the couch. A vegetarian and generally nice chap, he works as the wedgie enforcer at Dilbert’s office, punishing incompetent coworkers, salesmen and sometimes even clients.
A reptile from another great Disney movie, this time their 1973 take on Robin Hood, Sir Hiss is the assistant of the cowardly and greedy Prince John. Living up to his name, the meek yet devious serpent has a speech impediment characteristic of most cartoon snakes.
Released from his egg by a group of Californian teenagers, Denver is a duck-billed prehistoric beast who, naturally, can understand English, ride a skateboard, and travel back in time every now and then using a fragment from his discarded shell. Though a lovely show and great fun, now that I’m an adult I feel a little uneasy about the opening lyrics: “Denver, the last dinosaur. He’s my friend and a whole lot more. Denver, the last dinosaur. Shows me a world I never saw before.” I dunno, is it just me or… Never mind.
Cowabunga, radical, totally tubular, and so on. You can’t write about top fictional reptiles without including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so don’t even try it. (I’ve got my eye on you.) Despite Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo growing into humanoids after coming into contact with radioactive ooze, and one of their arch-rivals being an evil warlord brain-creature from Dimension X, what I found hardest to believe was how happy April O’Neil is to visit their disease-ridden subterranean home on a regular basis.
Chuck and Leon
These twin brother chameleons from the Rocko’s Modern Life universe seem to have different jobs each time we see them, from running a gym to owning a cafe. However, something that remains constant is that they’re very snooty, have quasi-Scandinavian accents, and only serve people with “an exclusive amount of cash”.