The Universal Solar Serpent Deity

In general, these serpents are typically replaced by lightning bolts or the vajra symbol to designate a chief creation god or goddess of the culture. Altogether, these are sometimes known as "god-self" icons to indicate the conscious self as an extension of the solar deity (which we are thru the plant kingdom).

In the case of Virachocha, he was worshipped as the god of the sun and storms. He was represented as wearing the sun for a crown with thunderbolts in his hands. In this picture, his lightning bolts appear to double as serpents.