A Magizoologist’s guide for the regular witch and wizard
Today we will be covering: Dragons
Ministry of Magic Classification: XXXXX – Known wizard killer / impossible to train or domesticate
“Probably the most famous of all magical beasts, dragons are among the most difficult to hide.”
The Ten Breeds
Although, generally speaking, dragons do share many physical similarities, there are ten different pure breeds of dragons, each one unique in their own way. Occasionally, dragons have been known to interbreed, producing rare hybrids.
“It’s hard to stop Muggles noticing us if we’re keeping dragons in the back garden – anyway you can’t tame dragons, it’s dangerous”
Despite the danger they normally represent to humans, dragons have been historically sought after by witches and wizards for their many useful body parts. Their blood, claws, hearts, liver, horns, meat, hide and even dung are used for brewing potions, making wands, producing protective gear or as fertiliser.
Their eggs are classified as Class A Non-Tradeable Goods. Despite the ban, many dragon eggs can still be found on the black market.
These are the Ten Pure Breeds, and their characteristics:
Native to New Zealand, this is perhaps the most beautiful type of dragon. It is of medium size (between two and three tonnes) and dwells in valleys. It has iridescent. pearly scales and glittering, multi-coloured, pupil-less eyes. Although it can produce a very vivid scarlet flame, the Opaleye is not particularly aggressive. Its prefered food is sheep, although it will occasionally attack larger prey. Opaleye eggs are pale grey, and may be mistaken for fossils by unwary Muggles.
Also known as Liondragon, this is the only oriental breed and has a particularly striking appearance. The Fireball is covered in smooth, scarlet scales. It has a fringe of golden spikes around its face, a snub snout and very protuberant eyes. When angered, the Fireball will breathe out a large, mushroom-shaped flame. It can weight between two and four tonnes, with the female being larger than the male. Its eggs are a vivid crimson speckled with gold. Their eggshells are prized for its use in Chinese wizardry. A Fireball’s favourite mean is either pigs or humans, although they will eat most other mammals. Despite being an aggressive dragon, it has a surprisingly high tolerance with those of its species, sometimes sharing its territory with one or two other dragons.
COMMON WELSH GREEN
The Welsh dragon’s colour allows it to blend perfectly with its surroundings, although it tends to nest in the higher mountains. In fact, there is a reservation established in the mountains that is solely dedicated to the dragons’ preservation. This breed is generally not aggressive, and like the Opaleye it tends to feed on sheep and avoid humans. There has been one memorable instance, the Ilfracombe Incident of 1932, where a Common Green Welsh swooped down on a crowded beach full of Muggles. This breed’s eggs are an earthy brown, flecked with green.
Native to Britain, this dragon is quite aggressive, and requires a territory of as much as a hundred square miles per dragon. This breed can grow to reach up to thirty feet in length, with black scales and purple eyes. It has a line of shallow but sharp ridges along its back and a tail tipped with an arrow-shaped spike. Its wings resemble that of a bat. Although it feeds mostly on deer, it will sometimes carry large dogs and even cattle. The wizard clan MacFusty has traditionally taken care of these dragons.
Most experts consider this the most dangerous of all breeds. Their bodies are covered in black scales, and they largely resemble lizards. They have bright, yellow eyes and bronze horns. Spikes of the same colour protrude from its long tail. The Horntail’s fire range is one of the largest of any dragon, reaching up to fifty feet. These dragons will feed on goats and sheep, but will devour a human whenever possible. Its eggs are grey and look like cement. They also have particularly hard shells.
This breed largely resembles the Horntail, although it has prominent black ridges along its back instead of tail spikes. Ridgebacks are exceptionally aggressive towards their own kind, which unfortunately makes them one of the rarer breeds. This breed will attack most mammals and even water-dwelling creatures, something quite strange for a dragon. Ridgeback’s eggs are black, and their young develop fire-breathing abilities at between one and three months, much faster than other breeds.
This is the smallest dragon breed, at mere fifteen feet or so in length. Their size also makes them the fastest-flying breed. The Vipertooth’s body is smooth, their scales copper-coloured with black ridge markings. Their horns are short and they possess particularly venomous fangs. Although the Vipertooth will eat goats or cows, they have such a craving for human flesh that, back in the late nineteenth century, the International Confederation of Wizards had to intercede to stop the rapidly increasing number of Vipertooths to protect the population.
The Romanian Longhorn has dark-green scales and long, glittering golden horns. It generally uses its horns to gore its prey before roasting it. The dragon’s native territory is now the world’s most important dragon reservation. Because its horns, when powdered, are highly valued as potion ingredients, the Longhorn numbers have reached a dangerous low point. For that reason, they are now the subject of an intensive breeding program. In order to further protect them, their horns are defined as a Class B Tradeable Material.
This breed makes for an attractive silvery-blue dragon. Their skin is sought after for the manufacture of protective gloves and shields. It produces a brilliant blue flame that can reduce timber and bone to ash in a matter of seconds. The Short-Snout prefers to live in wild, uninhabited mountainous areas, which is probably the reason why it has fewer human killings to its name than most dragons.
The Ironbelly is certainly the largest breed of dragon. It has been known to achieve a weight of six tonnes. Although its size makes it slower in flight than smaller breeds, the Ironbelly is extremely dangerous and capable of crushing whatever it lands on. Their scales are metallic grey and their eyes a deep, unsettling red. It talons are long, and particularly vicious when used to attack. This breed has been in constant observation by local authorities since the Black Sea incident of 1799, when an Ironbelly carried off a sailing boat from the Black Sea.