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"I've come across more and more people who've actually tried reading science fiction and can't make it make sense."
- Samuel R. Delany

Robot Snake  
  A mechanical reptile, with no legs.  

As far as I know, the first use of this phrase in science fiction.

"Thereís Cobber. Heís a mechanical device, but heís part of my act and easily explained. They might not think to look for a second reason for my wanting him near me...

After a long moment she dropped her hands from the wheel, took the robot snake from his box and draped his topaz and emerald length over her shoulders and the mechanism, triggered by the warmth of her body, set the jeweled evil head to weaving nervously. Then she reached out mentally for Artemus Chester.

Chester scanned her mind and his face gradually lightened. "Excellent! Iím sure Mr. Kilgore's electronic wizards can build some sort of amplifying circuit into your robot snake by the time Iím ready for you to leave. I do have to find a crime for you..."

From Bait for the Tiger, by Lee Chaytor.
Published by Fantastic Universe in 1958
Additional resources -

Here's another brief excerpt:

"The agent from Los Angeles arrived with Cobber in a padded box. He was followed within a few minutes by the electronics expert of the Bureau, who purred over the complicated insides of the big silvery-green reptile. He put it through its paces. The six-foot robot slithered and reared and struck in a sensuously-writhing series of movements. Steve stood frowning at it, divided between revulsion and admiration. "Itíll never do,Ē he said."

Compare to the mining worm robot from Love Among the Robots (1946) by Emmett McDowell, the robot earthworm from War with the Robots (1962) by Harry Harrison, the mechanical cobra from Lord of Light (1967) by Roger Zelazny, the digger worm from With Friends Like These (1985) by Connie Willis and the robot snake spy from Mariposa (2009) by Greg Bear.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Bait for the Tiger
  More Ideas and Technology by Lee Chaytor
  Tech news articles related to Bait for the Tiger
  Tech news articles related to works by Lee Chaytor

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