African Dragons

African Dragons

Sungazers

Sungazers are heavily armoured lizards, hence one of their common names, the Girdled Lizard. This is derived from the rows of ossified, bony scales along their body. African Girdled Lizards.

These scales or osteoderms are heavily keeled and are arranged in uniform rings or girdles around the body. The name Ouvolk is from the ancient Afrikaans language spoken by early Dutch settlers and roughly translates into “Old Folk”, supposedly referring to its tendency of sitting at the entrance of the burrow facing the sun for many hours on end. Universally, the most commonly used name, Sungazer is also derived from this posturing. The name Zonure and Lord Derby’s Lizard have all but vanished from use.

Many central tribes decorated their masks and costumes with features of these dragons. However, these tribes are vanishing, as foreign influences become ever stronger.

The African Dragon differentiates from its European and Eastern counterparts in many aspects. The size is the first thing. They are 10.7 metres (35 feet) in length. The majority were serpentine, like the American Dragons, but they all had legs. There was a variety in the number of legs, but mainly two and four.

It was said that only those with four legs could fly, whereas the two-legged varieties were land-bound.

The color of African Dragons varied from green to gold, and some even had scales of all shades between.

They usually ate only African elephants.

Another difference was their diet. They usually ate only African Elephants, preferring nothing else. In Ethiopia elephants were rare, so two dragons entwined themselves and formed a raft to Arabia. When an elephant approached they pounced. African Dragons did sometimes eat other meat, but only if they were very hungry. If they felt threatened they would also kill, and rather than waste food, they would eat the carcass. They rarely attacked humans, unless in self-defence. Otherwise, humans and dragons lived peacefully alongside each other.

African Masks.African Dragons did not hoard treasures or precious metals such as gold. Instead, they had a special stone in their brains, called the Dracontias. The Dracontias gave the dragon the ability to fly and also gave them magical powers. The stone had healing properties, and if a human village was struck by plague, the village elders would often approach the local dragon for help. They usually gave the dragon gifts such as the village’s best elephant.

If the dragon died the stone became useless, losing all of its properties. The only way to obtain the stone would be to drug the dragon and cut its skull, gently removing the stone. This is only possible as the stone is not necessary for the survival of the dragon. However, many times the removal process went wrong and the dragon died, rendering the Dracontias useless.

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