Dragon Anatomy and Physiology

Modern fantasy describes dragon characteristics in great detail.

A dragon looks much like a reptile, at least at first glance. It has a muscular body, a long, thick neck, a horned head, and a sinuous tail. It walks on four legs with clawed feet, and it flies using its vast, batlike wings. Heavy scales cover a dragon from the tip of its tail to the end of its snout.

Dragons are different sizes, of course. They start out as eggs, from 1-4 feet in length, and about half that in diameter. As adults, some species of dragons can be as long as 85 feet, with a wingspan of 170 feet.

A dragon's eye has a large iris and a vertical pupil, like a cat. This allows the pupil to open extremely wide and admit much more light than a human eye. The white of a dragon's eye us often not white, but yellow, gold, green, orange, red, or silver.

A dragon's eye is protected by a leathery outer eyelid and three smooth inner eyelids. The innermost membrane is crystal clear and protects the eye from damage while the dragon flies. The other two eyelids mainly serve to keep the eye clean. They are not as thin nor clear as the innermost membrane. A dragon can use these inner lids to protect its eyes from sudden flashes of bright light.

Dragons are hatched from eggs. These eggs vary in size depending on the dragon type, but are usually the same color as the mother dragon. Dragon eggs have elongated, ovoid shapes and hard, stony shells.

When born, a dragon's scales are as soft as tissue paper, and slowly harden as the dragon ages. During the first year of life, a dragon's scales will be very soft and supple. Over time, they will become as hard as stone or steel. Metallic dragons' scales start out very dull, but become shinier throughout the life of the dragon.