In the etymology portion of their research findings, they explained the reference to the name like this:
“The specific epithet is a noun in apposition for JK Rowling’s fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’s co-founder, Salazar Slytherin. He was a Parselmouth that links him to serpents. Suggested common name: Salazar’s pit viper.”
Salazar Slytherin, for those not in the know, was one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the Slytherin house is named after him.
Zeeshan A Mirza, who was part of the five-person team who found the new snake, told The Indian Express about their collective love for the book series, saying, “All of us are obviously very big fans.”
He continued, “When I was growing up, JK Rowling was a big part of my childhood, and perhaps everyone else who has read the book. Now what better way to honor and thank her than naming the species after one of her characters?”
But maybe you are wondering why they didn’t call the snake Nagini, after Voldemort’s snake.
Well, they actually thought of that, too! But they decided to save the name “for when, and if, we discover a new cobra species since Nagini was a cobra.”
Here’s hoping this team of Harry Potter-loving scientists discover a whole new slew of animals that they’re able to name!