15 Amazing & Mystical Dragon Facts
Find out all abut dragons with these magical facts! We've put together 15 awesome facts all about dragons and the myths and legends behind them!
How much do you know about dragons, the magical and fire breathing creatures of myth and legend? We've put together 15 cool facts all about dragons to tell you all about their powers, the stories behind them, and even real-life dragons! And if you liked that, check out more facts here! We've also got some magical unicorn facts, as well as these super snake facts, if you like your reptiles a bit more real! And for more mythology, how about these pretty cool Poseidon facts!
1. Dragons Have Been Around For Thousands of Years
Dragons are nothing new. They've been part of world culture and mythology for thousands of years. In fact, some of them are part of creation myths (Stories told to help people understand how the world came to be.) For example, in ancient Mesopotamian culture, the creator goddess Tiamat is depicted as a dragon!
2. They Exist In Lots of Different Cultures
Dragons exist in cultures all over the world, but are most popular in places like South Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Japan also has a strong history of dragon mythology, and the Vikings had Yggdrasil, a giant tree that was protected by a dragon. India, Vietnam and Korea also have strong dragon mythology, whilst in Europe dragons are often part of fairy tales and religious stories. In ancient Iraq, dragons were feared for their ability to swallow men whole!
3. They Don't All Look Alike
A European dragon looks very different to an Asian dragon. Traditionally, Asian dragons will be wingless, and resemble long, legged serpents. They often carry their egg, which is the shape of a pearl, in one claw. On the other hand, European dragons are much more similar to lizards than snakes - with big, wide bodies, huge scaly wings and the ability to breath fire. In the Bible they are depicted as having many heads, a bit like a Greek hydra. They could also vary in size from huge, terrifying beasts as big as a Cathedral, to smaller, yappier dragons, more like a big dog.
4. They Symbolise Lots of Different Things
Dragons symbolise lots of different things, depending on where they are. In China, they are a symbol of luck, power and wealth. In Britain, defeating a dragon meant you were a powerful warrior, and so they were often placed on flags. In Western tradition they often symbolise evil, and the devil is sometimes depicted either as being a dragon, or having dragon's wings.
5. They Famously Love Treasure
If you know one thing about dragons, you know that they love treasure. They can't get enough of it! This seems to have originated in ancient Greek tales, where dragons guarded treasure from being stolen. Famous dragons who were really into treasure include The Hobbit's Smaug, from whom Bilbo is sent to reclaim the treasure of the dwarves. They also pop up as treasure-lovers in Harry Potter, where they guard the vaults at Gringotts.
6. Saint George Wasn't The Only One Who Fought A Dragon
St. George is probably the most famous saint to have fought a dragon - you can find statues and paintings of him doing just that all over Europe. But he wasn't the only saint to fight one. Margaret of Antioch also fought a dragon, and when it swallowed her, she had to fight her way out of its stomach! Yuck! And it wasn't just her. Other saints who fought dragons include St. Philip the Apostle, St. Theodore of Amasea and the archangel Michael!
7. The UK And Ireland Have Lots Of Dragon Stories
The islands of Britain and Ireland are full of myths and legends about dragons. These include the fighting red and white dragons of Wales, the Mester Stoor worm of Orkney, a water dragon in Lyminster and Irish dragon slayer Finn McCool. And there's hundreds more! Why not see if your local area has a dragon myth?
8. They Have Magical Powers
Dragons are renowned for their magical abilities, which differ depending on what part of the world you're in. They are thought to have blood with magical properties, the ability to breathe fire, flying powers, the power of speech, and sometimes immense wisdom. Better not cross one then!
9. You Can See Them All Over The World
Dragon paintings, pictures, statues, murals and memorabilia can be found all over the world! Dragon gargoyles are found all over Europe, as well as statues, often of St George defeating them. In East Asia, they are a symbol of power and good luck, so its not uncommon to see statues, pictures and of course puppets of dragons when you visit places like China!
10. They Are (Sort Of) Real
Ok, so NO, there aren't any actual real life, fire breathing dragons. But we do have the closest thing - the Komodo dragon! Komodo dragons are giant lizards who can grow up over 2.5 metres long! They are part of the monitor lizard family, and mostly live in the forests of Indonesia, and on the island of (you guessed it) Komodo. Western travellers probably really did think they were seeing a dragon the first time they stumbled across them! And they may not breath fire - but they do have a VERY poisonous bite, so stay away!
11. The Bible Mentions Dragons
As we mentioned, dragons are already super old, but some people think they even appeared in the Bible! In some translations, such as the King James Bible, dragons are mentioned nearly 40 times! Often these Biblical dragons were more like demons, or sometimes they would symbolise something else, like a terrible event to come. Either way, if you spot a dragon in the Bible, its not good news!
12. There Are Some Very Famous Celebrity Dragons
Dragons are firmly cemented in pop culture now, and some of our favourite characters have been dragons, including Smaug, from The Hobbit, Dragon from Shrek, and Norbert, Hagrid's pet dragon from the Harry Potter series. Which is your favourite famous dragon?
13. They Didn't Always Fly
Although we tend to think of dragons as flying animals, that wasn't always the case. In fact, in earlier western mythology, they were depicted as hanging out in trees, where they would drop onto unsuspecting people below! Look out next time you're in the woods!
14. People Once Thought Dinosaurs Were Dragons
When people first discovered fossilised dinosaur remains, they must have thought they'd found something incredible! These giant lizard skeletons, millions of years old, were originally thought to be dragons, and you can see why! They bear a lot of resemblance to the idea of a western dragon, although sadly none of them had big scaly wings to match! Flying dinosaurs had feathers instead.
15. They Are The Symbol Of Wales
You might recognise this dragon from the Welsh flag! That's right, the dragon is the national animal of Wales, and you can often see red dragons appear all over things that represent wales. There are many myths and legends in Wales associated with dragons - the red dragon was supposedly the symbol of King Arthur, whilst a golden dragon was favoured by Welsh prince Owain Glyndŵr. The Tudors, originally a Welsh family, also displayed the dragon as their symbol sometimes.