General Comments and Physiology

The dragon (Drago drago) is a homoiothermic reptile. In otherwords, he is a warm-blooded creature and his body temperature is controlled internally. This characteristic enables him to adapt to the different climates of his very extensive habitat and to maintain his activities both day and night throughout the year, as he is not dependent on the \warmth from the sun like the other reptiles. The dragon generally has wings, and his bones are hollow, for lightness. There are dragons, usually ancient survivors from the distant past, with stumpy legs and no \wings.

 These rare survivors of a remote era are intelligent and fairly aggressive, and belong to a single species known as 'worms of the deep', a species on the verge of extinction. This creature lives for a very long time. There are records of dragons who have lived for five hundred and even a thousand years, but there are no known cases of dragons who have died from old age. On the other hand, they die from accidents, certain diseases or as a result of the actions of their most relentless enemy: man. The worst disease is 'scale corrosion, which can be fatal. 'Senile dementia' is more common among Earth Dragons, while acute gastritis iron virginae affects mainly the Water Dragon. who has an extremely delicate stomach. Despite his strength, the dragon loses some of his agility with age, easily falling prey to the singular and terrible dragon-killer, the armor-plated Ichneumon. This swamp dweller, which Pliny describes in his Historia Naturalis as a spindle-shaped mud fish with a sharp snout, covered with tough plates, is the dragon's mortal enemy. The Ichneumon burrows between the dragon's scales and, using its sharp snout, tunnels through the tender flesh until it reaches the entrails, which it devours, killing its victim.

The dragon can talk, and his natural language is Latin, a tongue which is innate in the dragon species, but he has no difficulty in learning and expressing himself correctly in the vernacular of the region in which he lives.

A lover of woodlands and fresh air, the dragon cannot bear environmental pollution or the tumult of civilization. Today, the dragon survives only in those rare places that have escaped pollution, small isolated pockets of the Old World, which is why the future of the dragon seems precarious.

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