Ages ago, I did a short post on Dragons of the World, where I whizzed around the globe, highlighting the different dragons which lived in various parts of the world. This month, I’m going to delve into more depth on the subject. Starting in my home continent of Europe, and travelling east, we shall look, in more detail, at the various kinds of dragon you can expect to find around the world.

The European (or Western) Dragon

The most common image of a dragon in the western world is one with a scaly body, four legs, two wings, long neck and tail, and this is what we see in the European dragon. They vary in size and colour, with red, green and dark colours being more prominent (although pale colours are sometimes seen, more so in colder countries), and a typical adult will stand at about 5m tall (16-17 feet). The scales on the belly are smoother, and slightly paler than he scales on the back, and often these dragons will have spines running the length of the back and tail, and often spines/horns on the head, sometimes in multiples.

Red European DragonTheir wings give them the ability to fly, meaning that territories for these dragons are large, often out of necessity as well as ability, since they will eat a lot, mainly off large herbivore creatures such as sheep, deer, cows and other farm stock. The continental feature of Europe mean that lairs are most commonly found in forests and mountains, with mountains being the preferred choice. Caves and cave system make for very good homes for European dragons, especially if it is more isolated and far from human habitation. If you are searching for a forest dragon, pine forests seem to be more popular with them, possibly related to their evergreen nature.

These dragons are intelligent, and more than able to hold a conversation, although the older the dragon, the more likely it is to prefer Latin, (all dragons speak the dragon language, and most of the intelligent ones will speak a human language, with the younger ones more likely to choose English or Spanish as common languages). They are also known for hoarding, with vain or greedy streaks in many of them. That is not to say they are inherently evil or mean, but meeting with one will go better with a gift or compliments (they usually know what you are trying to do, but like it enough that it goes down well). Shiny things are best, although make sure that quality is good, although some dragons have special interests, such as old books, or musical instruments. If you can research you particular dragon beforehand, it might pay off when you attempt to meet with it.

In case it doesn’t go well, these dragons are armed with claws, teeth, breath weapons, and watch out for the tail as well, some dragons will use it as a whip or club. A dragon with large horns may also use those, but this is rarer.

Knucker

Some people think that Knuckers might just be juvenile European dragons, but there seem to be enough differences between these small dragons and the Europeans ones to make that unlikely.

These dragons are very small for dragons, about the size of a tall human, so less than 2m or around 6 feet tall. Like the European dragons they have four legs, two smaller front ones, and two larger back ones. And they do have two wings, but unlike the European dragons, these are tiny, vestigial things, and they cannot fly with them. Most of the time they appear to be brown in colour, but this is probably because they are caked in mud and dirt almost all the time. Behind the mud, the scales true colours are thought to be dull reds, greenish blues, and there probably are some who are naturally brown as well. They have spines and frills on head and back, and the frills around the head can often give an indication of mood, depending on how they are positioned.

They are usually so dirty because of their chosen lairs within holes and other small, damp locations. Forests, swampland, near rivers are all good places for them. They hunt these locations for smaller prey, rabbits, fish, birds and so forth and have even been known to go for small children. They use their long body to hold down and strangle a victim, in the manner than snakes do, and then have sharp claws to tear flesh, as well as a venomous bite, which is highly corrosive and can eat through most metals.

They too have a habit or hoarding, although they go for household items, such as glass bottles, metal plates and cutlery, china. Sometimes a knuckers hoard can look a bit like a box full of charity donations. They are, however, slightly timid creatures, so if an adult wants to fetch something that they have taken, it is more than possible to go into the knucker hole and retrieve it. An adult can also protect a child from a knucker attack with loud noises, to scare it off.

Basilisk

Debated at time whether it belongs in the dragon category, or with such other mythical beasts as the phoenix and cockatrice, I have included it here because in its most documented natural form, it shares many traits with dragons.

The Basilisk is a shapeshifter, apparently able to shapeshift into any dragon or pseudo-dragon species (one of the reasons it is thought to be a dragon species itself, is because of this affinity for dragon shapes). Because of this, it is hard to know what it’s true form looks like. Some accounts say it is a giant snake like body, others say it more resembles a velociraptor, with short front arms, long back legs, and a thing running body. And thee are just the two most common descriptions.

basilisk dragonOne thing that is common is it’s eyes. Big emerald green eyes are a constant feature between all shapes that the basilisk takes. However, the myth that staring into the eyes of a Basilisk causes instant death does appear to be true, as any dragonologist that has tried to do this has failed to come back from the field. It is also thought to have a exceedingly venomous bite, but again, there is a lack of evidence.

It is known that the Basilisk is fond of eggs as a food source. It appears to be indiscriminate as to which species it like the eggs of, and probably eats other foods as well. Most reports of Basilisks have come out of the south of England and Switzerland, which could give some indication that is likes cooler, rainy habitats.

The reports that the crowing of chickens frighten it away are unverified. Do not rely on this method to save yourself from a Basilisk.

And there you have some common European dragon species. Next in the series, African dragons.

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