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10 Real Life Dragons and Where To Find Them

FUN FACTS September 8, 2017 By Vincent

Although you may be forgiven for thinking that dragons are the stuff of fairy tales and legends passed down through the ages with stories of them existing in many cultures across the globe, many beasts with the moniker of 'dragon' do exist and here we take a look at a few of these real life animals and where you can find them.

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1. Komodo Dragon

Lacking the wings of its mythical relatives, these large species of monitor lizard are probably the closest you will come to the traditional depiction of a dragon in real life with their forked tongues that can sense prey, those unfortunate to cross the path of a Komodo Dragon may find a particularly brutal end awaiting them.

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It has been claimed that they have a venomous bite; there are two glands in the lower jaw which secrete several toxic proteins. The biological significance of these proteins is disputed, but the glands have been shown to secrete an anticoagulant. Whatever the case may be, because they eat carrion their bite can cause deadly infections.

Found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar, they can reach 300 pounds plus and dominate the ecosystems they are a part of with their primary predators being other Komodo dragons. As such, juvenile ones are not often spotted out in the open.

2. Blue Dragon Sea Slug

The Glaucus Atlanticus or Blue Dragon is a type of sea slug that has finger-like fins that help it move in the water so picking it up can result in a very nasty sting. 

Also known as a sea swallow, blue angel, blue glaucus, blue dragon, blue sea slug and blue ocean slug, the creature is not actually poisonous itself but feeds on such things as the venomous siphonophore, the Portuguese man o' war and stores their poison in its cells in order to use as a defence.

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Reaching around 3cm in length, the slug drifts in water and has a blue topside and silver underside so as to remain camouflaged in its watery surroundings. Picking one of these up could result in a nasty, and potentially dangerous, sting.

3. Leafy Seadragon

A marine fish in the same family as seahorses, the leafy seadragon gets its name from the protrusions all over its body that are used as camouflage against predators as it blends into the flora of the underwater world it inhabits.

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With see-through fins that move it through the water, it looks like a piece of floating seaweed and so often passes through water unnoticed. Growing to around 20-24cm in length, they are not very large and feed on plankton.

4. Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede

Only discovered in 2007, not much is known about this species bar that it lives in the Greater Mekong area of the Philippines. Found in the limestone caves of the area, it is approximately 3cm long.

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Living out in the open, they congregate after rainstorms and can produce cyanide that they can shoot off as a form of protection, not quite like breathing fire but close enough.

5. Black Dragonfish

This gruesome looking character is a long slender fish with a serpent-like head; it has teeth so large that they can't actually fit into its mouth, they protrude upwards towards its eyes in an intimidating sight.

In its larval state, its eyes protrude out of its head on long stalks, and it is only as it reaches maturity that they recede into the eye socket. Living in deep waters at a depth of around 2,000m, the females grow to around 40cm n length whilst the males only reach about 5cm. They produce a phosphorescent glow to attract prey to them.

6. Flying Dragon

This dragon does actually take to the air, but 'flying' might actually be a bit of a misnomer as it glides from high up in the treetops they inhabit. They have patagia which are wing-like structures just below their ribs.

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If threatened by predators or other competitive males they will jump from the tree and glide the length of a football field with ease. These patagia are also used in mating displays to impress females. 

7. Weedy Sea Dragon

Like the leafy sea dragon, this fish is closely related to seahorses and has fronds sticking out of its body to camouflage it like the surrounding plant life. However, these more common sea dragon's are a reddish color with purple and yellow markings.

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Like seahorses, the male of the species carries the young in their pouch before they are birthed. Found mostly off the coast of Australia.

8. Dragonsnake

Found in Indonesia and Malaysia, these snakes are named so because of the ridge of knobbly black scales along their body in a raised ridge. Measuring around 60cm in length, the females are slightly larger than males.

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Mostly hunting at night for frogs, they were first discovered in rice paddies way back in 1863 and yet still little is known about them.

9. Bearded Dragon

Lizards that are a favorite of pet owners the world owner, bearded dragons have a puff of hard, spiked scales on their neck which they can inflate when threatened and they also use it for courtship, where often it will turn black.

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It has also been recently found that they can change their shade to do with circadian rhythms as they start the day dark and becomes progressively lighter, appearing cream at night and this is because their natural habitat is the deserts of central Australia.

10. Dragonets

Dragonets or 'little dragons' are tropical fish found in the Indo-Pacific and are named so because of their dorsal fins that resemble articulated wings. 

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Many are sandy colored in order to blend in with the surroundings of the seabed, but some that live near coral reefs sport more psychedelic colorings to match the brighter environment. 


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