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Posts Tagged ‘Real-Life Dragons’

Unlike the mysterious heath-dragons of legend, these heath dragons are actual, living creatures. Heath dragons are a group of lizards native to Australia. They are members of the Agamid family, close cousins of iguanas.

The natural habitat for heath dragons is open forest, sandy scrub and, yes, heath lands. They mostly prey upon larger insects, such as grasshoppers and crickets. Most of them are patterned with gray, brown and tan as camouflage. They mostly prey upon larger insects, such as grasshoppers and crickets.

These lizards are small, about 21 cm/8 in, and have a wary nature. They prefer to stay under cover of rocks or hide beneath fallen leaves. Sometimes they will bury themselves in sand. It’s thought they do this to help regulate their temperature in Australia’s summer heat.

Heath dragons can be taken as pets and seem to adapt well to human keeping. They are not the most famous pet lizards, though, so this trade doesn’t seem to effect their long term prospects. No species of heath dragons are currently listed as threatened or endangered.


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Wine-holding dragon. Photo by Deby Fredericks, December 2017.

Here’s a friendly and helpful dragon, seen on a store shelf at Christmas time. It even guards your wine bottle for you!

 


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d228055e54fb4b9f7396ebd54a19b2f3--red-cat-dragon-eyesHere’s an awesome thing I never knew existed: dragon eyes!

They are contact lenses, of course. Serious costumers can wear them at Hallowe’en or during SF conventions. These would really give your outfit a kick.

I’ve never worn contact lenses. I don’t know if I’d like them. But don’t you just want to stick these in and frighten people going down the street?

You can buy them online at Spooky Eyes and a few other places.


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

 

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Yellowstone National Park is one of the most amazing places in the world. The pine forests are peaceful and the mountains are majestic — but right in the middle are these stark white, barren plains where the wind carries hot mist and an infernal stench. The park features dozens of hot springs and geysers. Some remain anonymous, while others are named and well known.

Two sites are named for dragons. Both are found in the Mud Volcano area and have been known since early exploration in the 1870s. (That is, exploration by white people. Natives of the area must surely have been aware long before.)

The Dragon’s Mouth is a prominent spring where the churning of hot water has dug a cavern back into the hillside. Dragon’s Mouth is not the hottest spring, but steam builds quickly in the confined space. This results in a continual series of steam explosions. The constant surging and roaring makes for an impressive display.

The Black Dragon’s Cauldron is a relatively new feature. Hot water emerged on the surface sometime in the winter of 1947-48 and quickly created a visible cauldron. The water is high in sulfuric acid, killing nearby trees, while iron in the soil turns the water black. Interestingly, this spring has continued to grow as the subterranean hot-spot slowly migrates. The main eruption area is now in the south end of the cauldron.


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We might not think of dragons as medical miracle-workers, but scientists have announced a breakthrough in the search for new antibiotics. The source? Komodo dragons!

Biologists have long known that Komodo dragons have some really nasty bacteria in their mouths. If these big lizards can’t overpower their prey, they use a long-acting bacterial weapon as their fall-back. Any animal bitten by a Komodo dragon will develop a serious infection known as sepsis. It might take a few days, but the dragon follows its prey until the infection kills it. Then, it’s dinner time.

However deadly their mouth bacteria are, Komodo dragons themselves never seem to suffer from sepsis. Scientists decided to study them and figure out why. A team at George Mason Univerisity, led by Monique van Hoek, recently announced they had isolated a blood protein called DRGN-1. In laboratory tests, DRGN-1 was highly effective against some of the most notorious drug-resistant bacteria. Not even MRSA could stand against the dragon’s cure.

Although these are preliminary results, and much work remains to be done, van Hoek’s team hopes to develop a new antibiotic weapon for the ongoing battle against resistant diseases.

Our hero… the dragon?

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Just a few of my books:

Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, Lucy D. Ford’s short story collection

Masters of Air & Fire, Lucy D. Ford’s middle-grade novel

The Grimhold Wolf, my gothic werewolf fantasy, and my epic fantasy, The Seven Exalted Orders.

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bluedragon

Glaucus atlanticus is a little but lethal beast of the seven seas. Its nicknames include Blue Dragon, Blue Angel, and Sea Swallow. These are a type of sea slug, or nudibranch, that lives just at the ocean surface. Blue dragons spend most of their lives floating upside-down and drifting with currents and tides. They can swim slowly using their cerata, the delicate-looking fin/fingers, but mostly just hang out and wait for prey.

Their striking silver and blue coloration camouflages them in their marine habitat. The silvery back faces down, so that they disappear against the bright ocean surface, while the striped belly (actually the foot) faces up to blend with ripples and eddies.

Blue dragons are tiny, just over 1 inch long, but they are potentially quite dangerous. Their prey are jellyfish, whose stings they are naturally immune to. They can even take on large jellies like the Man-o-War. After eating, they save the jellyfish stingers in pockets on their cerata. Thus, though not venomous themselves, they can deliver a nasty sting when threatened.

Due to their drifting behavior, blue dragons are found almost everywhere the sea is warm, from Australia through India and South Africa, and up to Southern Europe. A separate but related species inhabits the Pacific Ocean. At present it does not appear these tiny dragons are threatened or endangered. They can be kept in aquariums because of their beautiful colors.

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Look what I found at the thrift store!

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Hafzilla is thirsty, too.

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