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Dragons

"It's hard to stop Muggles from noticing us if we're keeping dragons in the back garden - anyway, you can't tame dragons, it's dangerous."
     -- Ron Weasley (PS14)

"You can't domesticate a dragon whatever Hagrid thinks. That's simply impossible."
     -- J.K. Rowling (RC)

On this page: Related information:

Dragons, winged fire-breathing lizards the size of a city bus, are the one of the most amazing magical creatures in the world. Dragons are terrifying and awe-inspiring as they take wing and breathe fire. Muggles remember them only as beasts from mythology, which is a credit to the ongoing efforts of the Ministries of Magic in many countries who work tirelessly to keep these huge beasts hidden.

Typically, dragons are found in mountain habitats (FB), although there are exceptions.

Wizards who work with them are called dragon keepers (Charlie Weasley is a dragon keeper in Romania). Gringotts Bank employs dragon feeders to tend to their resident dragons. It's a dangerous job, apparently, since the advert requires that applicants give next of kin (DP2). Those who study dragons are called Dragonologists (JKR).

Breeds of Dragons

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them lists ten breeds of dragons in the world, but several more appear in other sources:

Antipodean Opaleye more info in Fantastic Beasts - click here to order

native to: New Zealand (and Australia)
habitat: valleys
appearance: iridescent, pearly scales
size: medium
eyes: glittering, multicolored, with no pupils
flame: vivid red
food: sheep
eggs: pale grey

Catalonian Fireball Dragon

native to: Catalonia, a region in the north-eastern tip of Spain

Though not mentioned in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a sketch of the Catalonian Fireball can be found in the pages of Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit, shown on Ms. Rowling’s website (JKR). Given the similarity in names and the early canonicity of the source, this dragon may have been renamed the Chinese Fireball during the course of writing the fourth book. Chinese Fireball

Chinese Fireball (Liondragon) more info in Fantastic Beasts - click here to order

native to: China
habitat: mountains (?)
appearance: scarlet with a fringe of golden spikes around its face
eyes: protruding
flame: mushroom-shaped
food: pigs, humans
eggs: vivid crimson speckled with gold

Common Welsh Green more info in Fantastic Beasts - click here to order

native to: Wales
habitat: nests in higher mountains
appearance: green
flame: narrow jets
food: sheep
eggs: earthy brown speckled with green

Hebridean Black more info in Fantastic Beasts - click here to order

native to: Hebrides Islands
habitat:
appearance: dark, rough scales, ridges along back, tail is spiked
length: up to 30 feet
eyes: bright purple
food: deer

Hungarian Horntail more info in Fantastic Beasts - click here to order

native to: Hungary
habitat:
appearance: black scales, bronze horns, spiked tail
eyes: yellow, vertical pupils
roar: yowling, screeching scream (GF19)
flame: up to fifty feet
food: goats, sheep, humans
eggs: cement-colored with very hard shells Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback

Norwegian Ridgeback more info in Fantastic Beasts - click here to order

native to: Norway
habitat: mountains
appearance: black scales, bronze horns, black ridges on its back
fangs: venomous (PS14)
food: any large mammals, including water animals
eggs: black

Norway's topography consists largely of mountains, so it seems a fair deduction that the Ridgeback lives in the mountains of northern Norway, away from the majority of the Muggle inhabitants, who mostly live in the southern coastlands and valleys (Columbia).

Peruvian Vipertooth more info in Fantastic Beasts - click here to order

native to: Peru
habitat: mountains (?), probably eastern Peru
appearance: smooth, copper-colored, short horns
fangs: venomous
size: small (15 feet)
food: goats, cows, especially humans

The habitat of the Peruvian Vipertooth is not discussed at length in (FB), so this is generally a matter of deduction. Since dragons in general prefer mountainous regions and (FB) ordinarily goes out of its way to note those species that have other preferences, it is reasonable to suppose that the Vipertooth prefers mountains. Given that the Vipertooth is native to Peru and that the wizarding world has successfully concealed its existence from Muggles, in fact, the only other reasonable possibilities for the Vipertooth's native habitat are the western desert, the central mountainous region, and the eastern rainforests. The desert seems unlikely, since it runs along the seacoast and is a relatively small region. The central mountains are a possibility, but the eastern mountains and rainforests have relatively few Muggle inhabitants and are difficult for Muggles to reach (Columbia), so eastern/northeastern Peru seems like the Vipertooth's most likely location.

Portuguese Long Snout

native to: the north of Portugal, around Geres
habitat: rocky summits and valleys
appearance: scales of light green and black eyes

A breed of dragon which appears in Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit (JKR).

Romanian Longhorn more info in Fantastic Beasts - click here to order

native to: Romania (possibly the province of Transylvania in particular)
habitat: mountains (?)
appearance: dark green scales, long glittering golden horn

Swedish Short-Snout more info in Fantastic Beasts - click here to order

native to: Sweden
habitat: wild, uninhabited mountain areas
appearance: silvery-blue
flame: brilliant blue

Since the Short-Snout prefers uninhabited mountain areas, this tells us that it specifically inhabits the mountains of northern Sweden; although this region takes up perhaps 2/3 of the country, most of the Muggle population lives in the remaining third, the southern lowlands (Columbia). Northwestern Sweden is of particular interest, since the western border of Sweden is Norway's eastern border, and Norway also supports a dragon species.

Ukrainian Ironbelly more info in Fantastic Beasts - click here to order

native to: Ukraine (possibly the Transcarpathian Region that borders Romania and Hungary)
habitat: mountains (?) - possibly Northern Carpathians
appearance: metallic grey, long talons
size: largest breed of dragon, up to six tons
eyes: deep red

The Transcarpathian Region of the southwestern Ukraine seems a likely candidate for the primary habitat of the Ironbelly for various reasons. It borders Hungary and Romania, both of which support dragon species of their own, so the region where the three countries touch is worthy of consideration as a dragon habitat for that reason alone. Since the Black Sea borders the Ukraine to the south, and (FB) particularly mentions that Ironbellies have been known to hunt in that area, this region is again indicated.

The Northern Carpathian Mountains running through the Transcarpathian Region of the Ukraine continue into the Southern Carpathians, also known as the Transylvanian Alps. In addition to being a mountainous area, and thus a common sort of dragon habitat, the Carpathians are sparsely inhabited by Muggles (Columbia), which would help explain how the wizarding world has managed to hush up the existence of the Ironbelly, given that much of the rest of the Ukraine is very thoroughly in use by Muggles as farmland.

Useful materials from dragons:

bladder
An inflated dragon's bladder was used in the ancient game of Stichstock. (QA2)

blood
There are twelve uses for dragons' blood, as discovered by Albus Dumbledore (PS6), and taught to first-year students (PS14). The twelfth use is oven cleaner (SFC).

dung
Dragon dung is sold by the barrel in Knockturn Alley (CS4). This may be related to its use as compost in Herbology.
Great for sending to Percy Weasley at the Ministry of Magic as, uh, an example of fertilizer. Yeah, that's it (GF5).

eggs
Dragon eggs are defined as Class A Non-Tradeable Goods (FB). However, Chinese Fireball eggshells are highly prized as potion ingredients.
Hagrid acquired a Norwegian Ridgeback egg from someone in a pub and hatched it in his hut. His wooden hut.

heart
Heartstring is used in wands as a magical core substance (GF18).

hide
Dragon hide is used to make clothing, often where Muggles would use leather, and particularly where the clothing is intended to double as protective gear. Dragon hide is in use to make boots (GF5), gloves (PS5), jackets (OP38, HBP30), and shields (FB). Swedish Short-Snout skin is particularly sought-after (FB).

horn (powdered)
Romanian Longhorn horns are a Class B Tradeable material (FB).

liver
16 sickles an ounce in Diagon Alley. (original editions of PS 5 say 17 sickles, corrected 2004 to 16 sickles).

Other facts about Dragons

 
Dragon breeding was outlawed by the Warlocks' Convention of 1709 (PS14).

Fiendfyre creates dragons made of magical fire (DH31).

Gringotts Bank employs dragon feeders. The position includes fireproof robes and pays 7 Galleons per week (DP2).

The single largest Memory Charm cast in recent memory (1932) was required because of a dragon swooping down on a beach filled with Muggle holidaymakers (FW, FB).

The Great Fire of London in 1666 was probably started by a young Welsh Green Dragon kept in the basement of the house in Puddling Lane (JKR-W3).

The variety of cheese known as "dragon's milk cheese" is undoubtedly made not with the milk of actual dragons but with the strong beer sometimes called "dragon's blood." (JKR).

Newt Scamander, for a time, worked in the Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau at the Ministry of Magic (FB).

Draco Malfoy's fist name comes from the constellation The Dragon ("Draco" in Latin) (Pm).

Dragon reservations:

Romania: research center, many types of dragons live there. The center and the reservation were founded by dragonologist Harvey Ridgebit (JKR). Charlie Weasley is a dragon keeper in Romania, possibly at this center..

Hebrides: the MacFusty clan traditionally cares for their native dragons

Wales: in the higher mountains

Sweden: between Arjeplog and Kopparberg, the annual broom race goes right through it (QA2).

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Page layout by Lisa Waite Bunker and Steve Vander Ark, banner graphics by Camilla Engelby © 2007.

Primary editor: Steve Vander Ark. Assistant editor(s): John Kearns, Michele Worley.
original artwork of the dragons of the first task and of Norbert by Mary GrandPré © Warner Bros., used by permission
original artwork of Liondragon © 2003 Cassie Songer, used by permission

Original page date May 28, 2001; Last page update July 12, 2012 SVA