Chinese water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus)

The Chinese water dragon is a species of agamid lizard native to China and mainland Southeast Asia. Chinese water dragons can grow up to 1 m in total length, including tail, and can live from ten to fifteen years. Like many other reptiles the Chinese water dragon possesses a small, iridescent, photosensitive spot between their eyes referred to as the pineal eye that is thought to help thermoregulate their bodies by sensing differences in light to assist with basking and seeking shelter after sunset. The Chinese water dragons are most commonly found along the banks of freshwater lakes and streams. They are active during the day (diurnal), and spend most of their time in the trees or plants (arboreal). If threatened, the dragon will drop from the trees into the water and either swim to safety or remain submerged for up to 25 minutes. Though they will also eat vegetation, the diet of the water dragon consists mainly of insects, supplemented with an occasional small fish, mammal or reptile.

photo credits: wiki, Rushenb, Theonlysilentbob

abloggingopossum  asked:

I've been somewhat wondering about the risks of other forms of wildlife to dragons?? (mildly regarding marine wildlife such as dolphins or sharks or the like because of a developing fic/character) For smaller dragons, those around toothless' size or smaller such as sand wraiths and such, the risk of other animals isn't touched on much? There was the episode with the thunderdrums and the boar, but it kind of makes me wonder on what other animals could be an actual risk for a dragon?

A somewhat related ecology discussion about dragons and their ecosystems.

One thing that has been interesting about the HTTYD franchise is exactly what you observe: there is a lot of discussion about ecology, but it’s mostly about how a single species lives in its environment or how two dragon species interact with one another. We don’t get much discussion about dragons interacting with other species, apart from some remarks about dragons eating fish and distressing local livestock. The example of the boars pestering injured Thunderdrums is the best example, and I’m so glad you brought that up! I’d forgotten about it myself!

I would be fascinated to see a more thorough integration of dragons with the other species of the islands. I doubt we’ll get it, but it’s interesting to consider. After all, as much as HTTYD is about dragons, dragons, dragons, dragons, dragons, and more dragons, sometimes it looks like 80% of the species that live in the Barbaric Archipelago are dragons, which cannot be right on so many accounts, starting with the proportion of predators to herbivores in an ecosystem. Second, it can’t just be that dragons are risks to dragons and that’s it. As you say, there’s got to be something more.

So I decided to do some research about what species live in this region of the world. I’ll separate this into marine wildlife and land wildlife.

REMINDER: I am a linguist, not an ecologist. This is not my subject of expertise so please don’t nitpick. Still, feel free to add, embellish, or politely redirect these ideas with reblogs and your additions of knowledge! Thanks!

Land Wildlife and Dragons

Since Berk is based on Scotland, the first place I looked for wildlife is Scotland. A few creatures I think might interact with dragons (beyond fish, sheep, and chickens) are Highland cattle, pine martens, European wildcats, red oxen, earless seals, grey seals, common seals, red deer, various species of bats, rats, ticks, and mosquitoes.

Lots of these creatures will not be a threat for the largest of dragons. The Monstrous Nightmare assuredly will have no problems with cattle or seals given the Nightmare’s size and flaming skin. However, there are a number of dragon species that are smaller than the Nightmare that might run into occasional difficulties with some of these creatures.

Pine martens are small, but considering the size of the average Fireworm, there is going to be some sort of interaction. The creatures would probably compete for similar food sources, and they might occasionally harm one another. I can’t imagine the Fireworm hunting the pine marten or vice versa given their sizes and the fact that the pine marten probably wouldn’t want to eat something that’s as hot as the sun. However, pine martens likely would try to eat some dragon eggs, so this might influence dragons that are even significantly larger than the average Fireworm. The pine martens can eat the eggs and prevent a new generation of dragons from growing up if the nesting parents aren’t careful.

Terrible Terrors overall are going to have problems with most of the creatures I have mentioned. Food competition with the weasel family will probably occur again. There could be some squabbles with bats. The wildcat is a fairly small cat, but its size is big enough to give the Terrible Terrors problems. The creatures would compete for the same food sources, and if they did get aggressive with one another, some bad things could happen. Terrible Terrors are obnoxious enough to perhaps get into situations they might not get out of.

Dragons that are of a medium size, such as, perhaps, Gronckles and juvenile Deadly Nadders will want to be careful around the larger seals, the deer, and the oxen. It’s not that these creatures are aggressive, but they are large enough and can hold their own well enough that you don’t want to mess with them.

Bears were most probably extinct by the time Hiccup came around, but they would have been problematic, too, with other dragons back in the day.

Honestly, what’s going to be the biggest problem is not going to be animals that are hunting or directly killing dragons. Dragons aren’t going to be hunted by almost anything. Most dragon species large enough that they won’t be in danger of death by even the largest of other creatures in the region. The biggest area in which other species will affect dragons is through disease and food source competition. 

That’s why I brought up seals. Seals eat fish. Dragons eat fish. There is only going to be so much of a food source to go around, so the presence of one species can inhibit the population growth of another species. 

Diseases could be spread to dragons through bats, rats, and some insects. Some of the smallest creatures, incidentally, are probably the ones that affect dragon populations the most.

Marine Wildlife and Dragons

You can toss the seals into this equation, too. In addition to the seals, we also want to talk about eels (already shown in the series), orcas, common dolphins, white-beaked dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and harbor porpoises.

Most of the whales in the Scotland area probably aren’t going to affect most dragon species. The Cuiver’s beaked whale and sperm whale, for instance, both feed primarily on squid and deep sea fish, which is not what most dragons eat. The majority of dragon species tend to eat near the coast and don’t seem to select squid as part of their diets. The presence of the Cuiver’s beaked whale and sperm whale would probably be problematic food-source wise for Scauldrons and Seashockers, but not for Deadly Nadders and Rumblehorns. The minke whale, meanwhile, feeds on krill and very small fish, so they seem to have a different fish diet than creatures like Night Furies and Monstrous Nightmares.

The dolphins and the orcas do, however, have similar enough food sources that they could be a bit of a problem for the population growth of many dragon species. The dolphins are not going to be large enough to kill dragons, but again, food source is a problem. As far as orcas are concerned, they could kill certain smaller species of dragons if they wanted to. A dragon the size of Toothless would be way too big to be touched, and even Meatlug weighs over five thousand pounds, but juvenile marine dragons could have some occasional problems.

Basking sharks are the second largest species of fish in the world and can grow to be thirty feet long. However, despite their size, and despite the fact you can see them in Scotland waters, they are passive feeders who filter plankton and small fish through their mouths. These dragons are non-aggressive and they’re not dangerous to humans, and they aren’t going to be dangerous to dragon species, either.

Poisonous marine species, like jellyfish, also might pose some potential threats to dragons, depending upon how resilient they are to those chemicals.

Altogether, there aren’t too many creatures that can be a direct threat to dragons either on sea or on land. It’s mostly going to be food source competition, poison, and disease that drags the dragons down, not direct attacks. The dragons - even the smaller species, such as the ones you mentioned - are by and large some of the biggest creatures in the area and will not have any natural predators. I imagine only a few select small species like Fireworms, Terrible Terrors, Smothering Smokebreaths, and Night Terrors are going to have some direct problems with larger carnivores or aggressive herbivores/omnivores.

i could be doing something productive with my time but no i’m currently researching how one could scientifically explain dragons

Story Shard 131

Star Dragon:

-Its scales look like they contain the night sky.

-Completely nocturnal. If forced to go out during the day, it becomes extremely grumpy and irritable.

-Its fire looks like small stars. When the fire hits something it explodes.

-Mainly hoards things that have either come from outer space or been to outer space.

Okay, remember Race to the Edge season 3 episode 4 with the Singetail? There is this moment when Hiccup said about seeing the Singetail before but is unable to remember from where.  

The moment he said that a certain dragon from How To Train Your Dragon 2 came popping in my mind. I mean take a closer look at the Singetail.

Four wings.

Not exactly the same but those four wings look very familiar for someone who meet a different species who nearly looks the same as this singetail.

Remember this:

The first time Hiccup met Cloudjumper was when he was a baby and yes they’re different dragon species but it’s the four wings that give it away.

Especially when both baby Hiccup and Stoick witnessed Valka getting taken away from them.

So this is only an assumption but perhaps the dragon Hiccup was referring to was Cloudjumper but since it was eighteen years ago he couldn’t really remember all the details. With this in mind, Hiccup might have mistaken that small memory of Cloudjumper for meeting the singetail.

Like I said earlier, those two nearly look the same by the comparison of their wings.

So I can only assume that Hiccup was having that moment of remembering the night his mother was taken but only recalling the dragon who he thought was the singetail from that night dispute the dragon actually being Cloudjumper.

So what do you guys think?

Could Hiccup have been talking about Cloudjumper and mistook the singetail’s wing form to be that dragon he saw the night Cloudjumper took Valka?