7 real dragons that will blow your mind
You do know that dragons don't exist in real life, right? Or do they? Do you ever dream of seeing pictures of real dragons?
Today we will see 7 real dragons that exist within the animal kingdom. Sometimes nature is capable of creativity that novelists or science fiction writers can only dream of having.
But before dwelving into this fasninating article, check out our dragon plushies, they're all right here:
1. The Basilisk Lizard
From its real name Basiliscus basiliscus, it is also known as the "Jesus Christ" lizard for its ability to walk on water.
It is a member of the iguana family. It lives in the tropical forests of Central and South America, near rivers and streams.
Most are less than 30 cm long, but some can be 61 to 76 cm (2 to 2.5 feet). They usually weigh between 200 and 600 grams. Their maximum lifespan is about 7 to 8 years. It has long toes and sharp claws.
They feed mainly on insects, small invertebrates, flowers and small vertebrates (such as snakes, birds and fish).
It is preyed upon by large birds, snakes, fish, and other large reptiles and mammals.
It is nicknamed the "Jesus Christ Lizard" because when fleeing a predator, it is very fast and can even run on top of the water.
Basilisks have large back legs with flaps of skin between each toe. This webbing adds to their speed, and gives them the appearance of "walking on water".
Smaller basilisks can run about 10 to 20 meters on water without sinking. Young basilisks can usually run farther than older ones.
They have the faculty to remain perfectly still, which confers them an exceptional capacity of camouflage, because thus they are very difficult to detect.
2. The Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons come from Australia. The most popular species among pets is the Inland Bearded Dragon.
It lives in the dry forests and deserts of central Australia. It spends most of its waking hours in bushes and trees, and lounges on rocks.
When it is extremely hot, the bearded dragon buries itself underground.
It is omnivorous. It seeks to feed on insects, small lizards and mammals, fruits, flowers and other plant material.
It is generally beige to yellow in color. It is called "bearded" because of its ability to push out the skin in the throat area when threatened, or when its territory is encroached upon.
It has spines on the throat, sides of the head and sides of the body. Its head is wedge-shaped and the bearded dragon has a tail almost as long as its body.
It is difficult to distinguish males from females in juveniles. When they become adults, the sexual differences are more apparent. Males have a larger head and a larger, darker beard. The femoral (thigh) pores of males also distinguish them from females.
Adult males can grow up to 70 cm (2 feet) in length, including the tail.
They are typically social creatures. They seem to enjoy interaction with humans. This is why some people adopt them and make them their pets. They have a life expectancy of about 10 years.
3. The Chinese Water Dragon
It is native to Southeast Asia. But it is also found in the forests of eastern Thailand, Vietnam and parts of China.
It takes refuge in tree branches and bushes overhanging rivers, and in burrows along the banks.
When nervous or frightened, they take refuge in the water. They are good swimmers and, like Australian water lizards, can remain submerged for long periods of time.
They usually live in groups with one dominant male and several females.
Their maximum length, including tail, is about 90 cm for adult males. Females are shorter and lighter than males. They have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years.
Adult water dragons have different shades of green. They also have patches of blue and pink around the throat and often a yellowish wash along the flanks.
As adults, their limbs are well developed, with sharp clawed fingers and toes. Their eyes are relatively large, with orange irises.
Their tails are striped with green and dark brownish green to brown. The tails are used to propel themselves through the water, for balance when climbing, and serve as a whip when necessary.
They have a "third eye". This is actually a small round spot at the top of the head, between the eyes, called the parietal spot. The third eye is thought to help water dragons, as well as many other reptiles, perceive differences in light.
4. The Gippsland Water Dragon
Gippsland water dragons are found in Australia. They can measure up to 1 meter (3 feet).
They have long, powerful legs and claws. Their long, powerful hind legs and sharp claws help them climb trees and dig holes for hibernation and nesting.
The tail forms 2/3 of their length and is almost entirely muscular. The tail is compressed laterally to act as an oar when swimming.
The Eastern Water Dragon, which is a close cousin of the Gippsland Water Dragon, has a dark stripe running from the ear to the eye, which the Gippsland Water Dragon lacks.
The Eastern Water Dragon has a central row of enlarged spikes at the back of the head. These spines continue along the backbone, decreasing in size to the base of the tail.
The upper body is gray-green with cream and black crossbands on the body and tail. The underside of the body is a creamy gray-brown.
Juveniles are light brown, with the head and feet disproportionate to the adults.
Females lack the bright colors on the chest and throat, and have narrower, more delicate heads. The male dragon's head is much larger and angular.
Water dragons are known to stay underwater for up to 90 minutes. When underwater, they slow their heart rate and exchange gases through their skin, both oxygen and carbon dioxide.
They are omnivorous. They usually eat insects, frogs, yabbies, other aquatic organisms, fruits, berries and flowers. They can eat underwater. Cannibalism has been recorded in young hatchlings.
5. The Common Flying Dragon
The flying dragon is a small lizard commonly found in the forests of the Southeast Asian region. There are about 40 recognized species.
The common flying dragon belongs to the Agamidae family of lizards, which is widespread in the warmer regions of the Old World.
Male flying dragons are about 21 cm long in total, females are slightly smaller. It lives in trees and rarely comes on the ground. It remains generally rather discrete.
Active during the day, it can be seen hanging on a tree trunk. It can also be seen in urban areas, in places where there are trees, including suburbs, public housing estates, as well as in agricultural land such as coconut plantations.
They feed on many kinds of arthropods (insects and spiders). They like to feast on ants.
Six or seven of the flying dragon's ribs are much longer than the others, forming their wings. At rest, the patagium (the skin between the ribs) is neatly folded over the sides of the body. In many species, the patagium is boldly patterned and brightly colored, much like the wings of a butterfly.
6. The Komodo Dragon
Komodo dragons are the world's heaviest living lizards, weighing up to 91 kg (200 lbs).
Komodo dragons were discovered after World War I when a downed plane was reported and the surviving pilot swam to Komodo Island.
They are native to four islands in southeast Indonesia: Flores, Gili Motang, Komodo and Rinca. They have also been found on the island of Padar.
The natural habitat of Komodo dragons is extremely harsh for humans: the arid volcanic islands have steep slopes and little water available most of the year.
They usually average 2.5 meters (8 feet) in length, but some specimens can reach up to 3 meters (10 feet). Females are usually less than 2.5 meters (8 feet) long and weigh about 68 kg (150 lbs). Despite their size, Komodos are fast and agile. They can climb trees and are good swimmers.
Their keen sense of smell allows them to search for carrion up to 8.5 kilometers (5 miles) away.
Their teeth are similar to those of carnivorous sharks. They have about 60 teeth which they replace frequently, and are positioned to cut off pieces of their prey. The skull is very flexible and allows them to swallow large pieces of food.
The mouth of the Komodo is full of bacteria. Even if its prey survives the initial attack, they will die of infection later.
They do not hesitate to attack adult water buffalo. They will eat anything they can get their hands on, including small dragons and small or injured humans (dragons make up to 10% of their diet).
Someone saw a 46 kg (101 lb) Komodo dragon eat a 41 kg (90 lb) pig in 20 minutes. In comparison, a 100 lb child would have to eat 320 quarter-pound hamburgers in less than 20 minutes to match the dragon!
In some zoos, Komodos are fed rats.
In the wild, Komodo dragons are generally solitary, except during the breeding season. The life expectancy of a Komodo is 20 to 40 years.
The young are multicolored (yellow, green, brown and gray), with a speckled skin. Adult colors range from earthy red to slate gray and black.
Komodo dragons are endangered. Their wild population represents 3 000 to 5 000 individuals.
7. The blue dragon
The Glaucus Atlanticus, also called blue dragon, is a species of nudibranchs from the Glaucidae family.
It is a visually beautiful gastropod mollusk thanks to its slender shape and its colors, mixing white and pearl gray with different shades of blue.
It lives in all temperate or tropical waters, where it floats on the surface of the water, on its back, thanks to the air that it swallows and stores in its stomach. It can also cling to fish or crustaceans in order to move.
The blue dragon is a hermaphroditic species, it lays eggs that drift in the water or attach themselves to the corpses of adult prey. Moreover, its penis is armed with a sharp hook, which it uses to hold its partner during copulation. Ouch!
Warning: touching a blue dragon causes skin irritations. Indeed, blue dragons feed mainly on jellyfish, whose stinging particles they then keep.
What's more, they have the ability to concentrate the poison in their tongue, equipped with sharp teeth. Their attack is fearsome and their bite is then deadly.
In Australia, on the beaches, children sometimes organize "blue bottle battles". They throw these animals at each other and some children suffer from skin burns after participating in one of these battles.
Of course, our dragon plushies are way more sweet, wmooth and confortable to the touch than the real ones!