Unraveling the Mysteries: Exploring the Centuries-Old Legends of Dragos in Southern Africa

You may think that dragons only exist in movies or series like “Game of Thrones.” These dragons are genuine. The first one comes from Africa, specifically South Africa. And I found the second one in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India.

Smaug Giganteus or Sungazer: First described in 1844 by the Scottish naturalist, Dr. Sir Alan Smith, this species is known by many different names such as; Sungazer, Girdled Lizard, Zonure, Lord Derby’s Lizard, or Ouvoilk. Sungazers are endemic to South Africa and are synonymous with the gently sloping Themedasp. grassland of the Highveld plateau.

Draco Volans or Flying Dragon: The flying lizard is found mainly in rainforests and tropical areas that can provide adequate numbers of trees for the lizard to jump from, in southern India and Southeast Asia. This includes the Philippine Islands as well as Borneo.

Smaug Giganteus (Sungazer):

Sungazers are heavily armored lizards hence one of its common names, the Girdled Lizard. This mocks the rows of ossified, bony scales along its body.

These scales or osteoderms are heavily and are arranged in uniform rings or girdles around the body. The name Ouvoilk is from the ancient Afrikaans language spoken by early Dutch colonists 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.

The ‘giant’ name suggests that these animals are large in stature. This is true when compared to the other forty-plus species of the cordylidae family.

Adults reach a size of about 38 centimeters (14.6 inches) from snout to tail tip, are dark brown in color on its upper body becoming a yellow-straw color on its flanks and underside. Younger animals are more colorful with yellow and black bars or stripes on its body, which fades as they mature.

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