Snivy is a bipedal, reptilian Pokémon with a slender build. Most of its body is green with a cream underside. A yellow stripe runs down the length of its back and tail, and it has yellow markings around its large eyes. Two curved yellow structures that resemble leaves or small wings protrude from its shoulders and bend backwards. Its slender arms have three fingers, while its tiny feet have no digits whatsoever. It has a large, palmate leaf with three prongs on the end of its tail. This tail is capable of performing photosynthesis, which allows Snivy to move more quickly. However, the tail will begin to droop when Snivy loses energy. This Pokémon has a calm, collected demeanor.
Ash's Snivy debuted in Snivy Plays Hard to Catch!. She knows Attract, much to the dismay of Ash, who kept trying to catch her, but would fail because most of his team was male. She was defeated by Pidove due to both of them having the same gender, and Ash successfully caught her.
Snivy is featured as one of the starter Pokémon in Professor Juniper's lab. While talking on the phone to Fennel, Tepig spilled some Berry Juice on Snivy, causing him to fight with Tepig. Eventually, Oshawott joined in on the commotion until the three starter Pokémon had managed to make a mess of her office, after which Juniper returned them to their Poké Balls, commenting that she was worried that the three might be too much for their future Trainers. Snivy was given to Cheren by Bianca because she thought he resembled him. He first appeared in Fussing and Fighting.
Snivy also appears as a trophy in both versions of the game.
NA: Along with Ekans and Onyx, this Pokémon is considered to be a snake Pokémon, even though it has two legs. When it evolves into Serperior, however, it sheds those legs. In Smash Bros., Snivy unleashes Razor Leaf on fighters, sending sharp leaves flying and damaging anything in range.
PAL: Like Ekans and Onix, Snivy is known as a snake Pokémon. Unlike those Pokémon, it has two legs. When it eventually evolves into Serperior, though, it loses them. It attacks using Razor Leaf, which sends super sharp leaves flying into fighters in front of it, potentially hitting them over and over again.
Snivy appears as one of the player characters in PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond. She is the daughter of Queen Serperior, which makes her Princess of the Arbor Area. Much to her mother's dismay, she is quite rambunctious and prefers playing and getting dirty than being elegant and proper. Upon hearing of Pikachu and Oshawott's task to save the PokéPark, she helps them to open the portal in the Arbor Zone, on the condition that they take her with them. Her special skill is the ability to jump higher than the other player characters.
Shortly after its release, much like many other Generation V Pokémon newly introduced, Snivy received the fan-made moniker, "Smugleaf". This name was picked up on and published in an article on the video gaming-focused blog Kotaku and later in an issue of Official Nintendo Magazine Australia and New Zealand, as well as its United Kingdom counterpart.
Snivy is the only Grass-type starter Pokémon that is not listed as the first Pokémon in its regional Pokédex, although it is still #001; this is because the Pokémon before it has a Pokédex number of #000. It is also the only Grass-type starter Pokémon that is not the first Pokémon of its generation in National Pokédex order.
Snivy has the lowest base stat total of all Grass-type starter Pokémon.
In Pokémon Black and White, Snivy, along with Tepig and Oshawott, has the lowest experience yield of all Pokémon, with a base value of 28. This was done specifically for the first two battles of the games, so the player's starter wouldn't level up after defeating Bianca and thus have a level advantage over Cheren.
Snivy is based on a snake. Designer Reiko Tanoue mentioned that the idea for Snivy's design came from a picture book which mentions snakes that have the appearance of vines; the specific snake may be the vine snake, tree snake, or green snake. Unlike real snakes, Snivy was designed with arms and legs to make it appear non-threatening, so as to not put off players; it gradually becomes more snake-like as it evolves. Additionally, some of Snivy's features may be inspired by legless lizards or skinks. The shape of Snivy's head, body, and the protrusions on its shoulders may be based on the bird of paradise or false bird of paradise flowers.