Harry Potter: Scientists Name New Snake After Salazar Slytherin

For over two decades, the Harry Potter franchise has become a beloved and wide-ranging part of our popular culture. The book and movie franchise has inspired generations of fans, some of whom have taken the lessons learned from Hogwarts into the real world. That was especially the case in the most recent publication of the Zoosystematics and Evolution journal, where a newly-discovered kind of snake was given a Harry Potter-inspired name. The snake was given the name Trimeresurus salazar, or "Salazar's pit viper", a nod to one of the founders of Hogwarts, Salazar Slytherin.

harry potter salazar slytherin snake
(Photo: Aamod Zambre and Chintan Seth, Eaglenest Biodiversity Project)

For those who might not remember, Salazar Slytherin was one of four founders of Hogwarts many years before the events of the book, alongside Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, and Rowena Ravenclaw. Salazar is the namesake of the Slytherin house, where the students are best known for being ambitious and cunning. He also has a lot of ties to snakes, namely through concealing a basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets.

The Salazar's pit viper is the most recently-discovered animal in the genus Trimeresurus, which are venomous and often found throughout East and Southeast Asia. Males of the Salazar's pit viper have one noteworthy characteristic -- an orange-red stripe on the side of their heads.

At the moment, the Harry Potter franchise is in an interesting situation, with Warner Bros. attempting to expand the film universe out with five Fantastic Beasts prequel films. The third film in that storyline was expected to begin production last month, but was forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There's also the Tony-winning sequel Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which follows older versions of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and their kids. The idea of a new generation of Hogwarts students has led some to speculate if the franchise will eventually be rebooted, or have some sort of sequel.

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“I don’t think Jo [Rowling] would want her films, her books rather and her films, to be remade anytime soon, but I’m sure in 20 years when they’ve got 4D, scratch-and-sniff cinemas, or whatever, then they’ll want to do it all over again," Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy In the franchise, said last year. "My hope is that when they do it I’ll be old enough to play Lucius. Give it another 15 years and I’ll come back and play Lucius. I would do it in a heartbeat.”

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