For my project there is an environment with a very rapid fire regime due to the usual stuff like a dry seasonal climate and dragons. While most animals escape the flames by running, burrowing, or flying away; there is one that simply takes the heat.

It’s a massive Xenarthian that looks like the love child of a Megatherium and a Pangolin Big sloth boi! Pangolin

It’s fire specific adaptations:

•Covered in Keretainious scales that are heat resistant and have a gloss to them that causes the burning venom sprayed by dragons to simply flow off like the water off a duck’s back so that it can clobber the puny lizard to death (dragons weigh like 200 pounds in this setting)

• Sweats a bunch when it gets super hot, maybe natural flame retardant.

• Can close its nostrils and hold its breath for a considerable amount of time due to a very slow heart rate and big lungs.

Is this feasible?

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    $\begingroup$ How long do they have to take the heat? I don't know how long a bush fire lasts (in one place until the grass is burned in that spot) but that should be researchable. Makes a big difference whether you just need to walk through an oversized camp fire or stay in the flames for an hour. $\endgroup$
    – quarague
    Jan 22, 2020 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ What climate does the animal live in and for how long do you want it to resist the fire? $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2020 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ @quarague It would be very brief. Because wildfires are extremely common they can’t get as big and hot as the uncontrolled burns you see in modern Australia and California. $\endgroup$
    – user71781
    Jan 22, 2020 at 12:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Ruther Rendommeleigh it would be a tropical savannah climate with wet and dry seasons. As for length of resistance, a few minutes depending on the strength. For large fires it would have to rush through it $\endgroup$
    – user71781
    Jan 22, 2020 at 12:45

1 Answer 1


The answer is a qualified yes. Adaptions would certainly help an animal survive fire, but only to a point. Big animals can get overheated very quickly so the problem is more one of temperature control than fire resistance.

If the soil was loose or sandy it might pay for the animal to dig itself a hole or at least a hollow in which to lay so that only the top half of its body was exposed to the flames. In addition if the excavations were pushed back in the direction of the fire they might smother nearby combustible materials.

Another advantageous feature would be a thick fire resistant and insulating hide at least on the back. One that could regrow after fire damage a bit like hair or nails.


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