Apparently, Dragons Do Exist And They Are Adorable

- in My World

We will tell you something very unusual, and it is not like we are facing with this kind of information every day.

Dragons are mythical creatures, for which we all have thought that don’t exist. But, now, we are telling you the contrary, because there are proofs that dragons are real and they share the same air as us.

Image Credit: Living Art by Frank Payne

If you fancy the series of Game of Thrones or The Hobbit, at one point you wanted, the dragons were real. Below we will tell you something that will blow your mind.

Dragons are real, and they are in South Africa.

In the fairy tales, the dragons are the symbol of solitude and lonesomeness, and no one is represented to be plentiful. Mostly they are chased away, or they are hunted because the dragons represent the evil.

It is the same with the real dragons too. Some of them have gotten the name from the characters of the movie. For example, the leading role of the film The Hobbit, Smaug, the spiky lizard reminds a lot to the miniature dragon, and it is killed by poaching and development as the scientists say.

Of the group girdled lizards, the armor-plated reptile is the largest one. It is known under many other names like giant dragon lizard, giant zonure and sungazer.

According to many scientists, the original name is Cordylus, but with the reassessment in 2011, their new name arrived- Smaug giganteus, after J.R.R. Tolkien’s villain. This lizard is found in the same zone in South Africa, in the same place where the architect of Middle-earth was born.

The mentioned reptiles are described with a body covered with sharp, bony spikes, to be safe from the jackals and birds of prey.

Many scientists who study the lizards say that these creatures have drawn blood on them so many times.

Just like the villain from the movie, Smaug, this lizard spends most of its time underground. They live half a meter underground in the areas of South Africa and the Mpumalanga provinces. Furthermore, it is an embodiment of the Tolkienian dragon because they are very picky about the place where they will live. Their lair must be a combination of climate conditions, soil type, and prey species.

Besides the fact that these dragons have effective body armor and different very unique underground life, it is still not enough to defend Smaug Giganteus against the paths and farms that sculpt up the land. Or even against the people who use the animals to make their traditional love potion, or against the other reptile lovers who raise them to the clouds for their beauty, fueling illegal collecting.

Image Credit: Living Art by Frank Payne
Image Credit: Living Art by Frank Payne

In the past thirty years, almost 1,200 sungazers were exported via permit. But we don’t know how many of them were illegally moved through the borders.

The trade of these dragons has been known since the 1800s. And one instance has been recorded when an animal is bred in captivity. But, until today, the trade of animals has not been stopped, and it is happening daily.

Many solutions for their protection were offered. Internationally they are under the protection of the CITES Appendix 2 and nationally under the protection of TOPS (Threatened or Protected Species). Furthermore, many kinds of researches have been made to protect this kind of animal entirely.

One institute or organization involved in this project, protecting the endangered species of lizards, represents the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT). This organization gives its best effort to make Smaug recognized as ‘national lizard’ to promote public awareness.

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