The Guivre is an amphibious dragon from French mythology:

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Many of its aspects are typical of Western dragons, but there are two which distinguish it from others:

  1. Its breath causes disease
  2. It cannot stand to look at a naked person. Hence it was chased out of France by streakers.

How could an animal emit some kind of disease-causing agent from its mouth? What evolutionary reasons would there be for it to fear/avoid naked humans, even if that was a side-effect of some other behavioural adaptation?

  • $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK Oh, my apologies. It includes naked women too. I'll edit it shortly. $\endgroup$ – SealBoi May 19 at 16:15

Breath that causes disease

Though the source says "venomous," you do not specify the "disease."

What about breath that causes vomiting? If it smells like human vomit that does cause a lot of people to throw up in real life. It could also have elements of disgustingness that would lead to even more people heading for the buckets.

If you'd like a more traditional disease, imagine Zoonotic influenza. We already have diseases like this:

Influenza A viruses infect humans and many different animals. The emergence of a new and very different influenza A virus with the ability [sic] infect people and have sustained human to human transmission, can cause an influenza pandemic...Aquatic birds are the primary natural reservoir for most subtypes of influenza A viruses. Most cause asymptomatic or mild infection in birds, where the range of symptoms depends on the virus properties.

It's not a stretch to imagine that an aquatic flying reptile has similar physiology to an aquatic bird. So imagine a flu that may or may not cause symptoms in a guivre. The guivres recover and stay carriers. The flu is airborne (though direct contact with the guivre's breath is needed in most cases) and can cross species lines and infect humans. How bad the infection is is up to you.

You can also combine these things. A big wham of guivre breath in a human's face causes immediate vomiting and then flu symptoms a few days later.

Fear of naked humans

The naked human bit (not in your source) would have to be psychological/behavioral. Perhaps over time the guivre has learned that humans with coverings over their faces are safe to be around (it's protection from the guivre's breath; the humans know it protects against the smell at least). A human without a face covering leads to punishment (humans who suddenly vomit are not kind, and they cause people to yell a lot and probably beat the guivres).

Guivres are smart dragons but not quite cognitively advanced enough to understand the difference between covering the face and covering the body and why it matters. Nakedness scares them because they associate cloth on humans with calmness and kindness and absence of cloth with screaming and throwing things.

The humans aren't bright enough either to understand that the sudden vomiting isn't part of the disease that comes a few days later. Rather, they think it's the first symptom (and they aren't wrong from a certain standpoint, just a biological one). So if a guivre causes someone to vomit, this is very very scary and they react accordingly. The guivres in turn are terrified.


Real world Komodo Dragons carry disease in their saliva, so that part already has a real world precedence. Carnivorous mouths are not the cleanest places in the world, so disease carrying may be the rule rather than the exception.

Aversion to the naked male form also has some precedence. Many heterosexual male humans exhibit homophobia which mimics that exact behavior. Here are a couple methods for getting that behavior into your dragons...

  • The dragons are domesticated and live with humans regularly. Perhaps the particular humans who raise these dragons (despite being french) are extremely homophobic. The dragons may have learned this behavior from their human companions.

  • The dragons are the product of a human super soldier program. They were created in a lab by transferring the brain of human warriors into the powerful dragon bodies; and the humans who volunteered for the program happen to be homophobic.

  • The dragons are the product of a human biological battle drone programs. They were created in a lab by implanting radio receivers in their existing brains such that remote humans can "pilot" them; and the human pilots happen to be homophobic.

  • Perhaps there is a non-human bipedal apex predator in the dragon's natural environment which carries its most offensive weapon in it's frontal groin area. This predator might have a gecko-like projectile tongue (tipped with a dragon targeting diseased saliva) which shoots out from the camouflage of human appearing dangling sex organs.

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    $\begingroup$ “Despite being French”? What are you trying to say about the French? :P $\endgroup$ – Liam Morris May 19 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ "fear/avoid naked humans", not males $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch May 19 at 12:28
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    $\begingroup$ You know, I do not consider myself homophobic but if every time I opened my door , I'd see a bunch of naked men running around making noise and obviously trying to get my attention, it would not take that long before I wanted to move elsewhere. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi May 19 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer, but the toxic bacteria-filled saliva idea for Komodo dragons has been debunked. Also, are you sure that homophobia would be enough to make an animal actively flee from random nude people? $\endgroup$ – SealBoi May 19 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ Why are you assuming all the guivres are male? How is that even possible? $\endgroup$ – Cyn May 19 at 16:59

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