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Dragons are a species of highly sentient reptiles with a somewhat human-like mentality. They are one of the more dominant species of Namman. The dragon species by terminology consist of males, called dragons or drakes, females called dragonesses, and offspring which are either called newborns or hatchlings, or whelps depending on the age. The majority of subspecies are normally piscivorous, or fish eaters.

Physical Characteristics

Most dragons have horns or antlers and the ability to fly, though there are many flightless species that live around Gaia, such as certain types of aquatic or terrestrial dragons. Most of them lactate through their throats like birds, although there were recently discovered to be subspecies which have human-like breasts, such as the Nammani dragon, but with milk patches in place of teats, unlike humans. The milk is yellow like egg yolk and remains untouched by agricultural farmers, due to the opinion of it "looking gross". These subspecies in particular are believed to be the missing link between reptiles and mammals. Although there are scaly dragons who have a webbed membranous tissue on their wings, they usually have feathers or downy fur like birds. Oftentimes there are a few types that resemble old world dinosaurs, particularly theropods. Other subspecies may resemble birds or pterosaurs.

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexual dimorphism is quite visible in dragons with males often being larger than females on average, though in some subspecies it may be the other way around in which the females are larger than the average male. Whiskered breeds such as the Eastern Dragon or Nammani Dragon may involve male dragons having long whiskers with the dragoness having either small whiskers or no whiskers at all.

Biology

Dragons are somewhat like dinosaurs in biology, such as the fact that they have collar bones and a small breast bone in the front of their ribcage. However, they lack the pubic bone that dinosaurs have. Flying species have powerful muscles in their wings that function similarly to the wing muscles in bats or birds. Some types of dragons are born with gas vents in the roof of their mouths that trap various different gases from inside the body as well as outside for the animal to use. To prevent the dragon from breathing in these harmful gases, these vents have muscles which automatically close during inhalation similarly to how the eyes close on their own when attempting to stare at the sun. The gas itself may be propane, hydrogen, nitrogen, helium, carbon dioxide, or oxygen, all of which give the dragons the elemental breaths they are so iconic for. Dragons which don't breathe gas have stinging 'quills' in certain areas of their bodies that generate static electricity via bodily friction. Feral dragons that have external ears typically have pointed ears while domesticated variants might have floppy ears.

Types of dragons

Nammani dragon
Eastern dragon
Western dragon
Jungle dragon
Sea dragon
Desert dragon
Wyrm dragon
Cynopods

Diet

Most species of dragons are known to eat fish and other types of marine animals such as axolotls, frogs, and small sharks, though there are species which eat specifically red meat or plants most of the time. Carnivorous dragons eat a diet of mostly pikas, wild cavies, hares, and sometimes other dragons. Carnivorous whelps may eat mostly insects. Herbivorous dragons will eat a wide variety of leaves, vegetables and fruit. Domestic dragons may be enticed or rewarded with candy, particularly chocolate.

Reproduction

Most dragons breed during the fall or winter with Nammani dragons being one of the few exceptions who mate any time of the year. Most of the eggs have a soft, rubbery or leathery texture for easy escape for subspecies that don't have egg teeth. Dragons with egg teeth are born with eggs that have a hardened shell like birds. Most dragons mate for life, only searching for a new one after their previous mate dies. Whelps tend to leave the nest willingly at the mere age of 1 or 3 to take care of themselves. They may forage for berries and nuts until they are old enough to hunt or fish. Carnivorous dragons may normally eat small mammals, reptiles, and birds.

Relationship with humans

Dragons have been caught up in competition with humans for generations. While their image has improved since the Renaissance era, there are still many humans who view dragons as a threat; this feeling is sometimes mutual, with dragons seeing humans as dangerous. Dragons in the past have attacked livestock after their natural source of prey had been eradicated in certain territories. As a result, many hunters have been ordered to slay dragons as a method of "controlling" the dragon population. However, this had quite a negative effect, with certain subspecies having gone extinct as a result of over hunting. Some dragons were bred specifically to be hunted for sport which contributed to the extinction of some of the subspecies and rises of animal cruelty concerns. Dragon slaying had been banned worldwide as a result, though there are still some people who continue to kill dragons illegally. Humans who tame dragons will often adopt small dragons to keep as pets or working animals, such as farm dragons.

As pets

Dragons may be tamed and domesticated variants have been bred. Most domesticated dragons had the gas vents in their mouths bred out of them to avoid freezing or burning the house down, though some types of working dragons have kept the vents for use as a tool when helping the owner. Feral dragons are not that difficult to tame, usually by offering food and shelter to young whelps.

As food

Small dragons may be hunted for food as hunting smaller dragons is still legal under certain conditions. On rare occasions, large dragons have been slaughtered for their meat. However, this is still illegal. Cuts of meat from small dragons may also be used for feeding larger dragons with. Certain species are sometimes raised as livestock, being bred for their meat.

Life expectancy

Dragons, being reptiles are known to have an unsurprisingly long lifespan, having an average of 130 to 220 years when domesticated, and are essentially a lifetime commitment. Most of them age slowly like humans, though there are subspecies that age quickly, going off of what humans call "dragon years". The Nammani Dragon reaches adulthood at the mere age of 13.