4
$\begingroup$

So, one of the less know abilities of dragons here is anivoice.

Anivoice allows dragons to communicate with birds, mammals, reptiles, dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

Of course, the information, relayed by them, is vague and (depending on the animal) more or less useless/obvious.

Using voice mimicry, the dragon can still get birds to use his horn as a perch which does make his larger-than-a-horse carnivore form a little cuter. He can also use it spook hunting dogs and even destrier horses from a distance.

So, here comes the problem: Animals, affected by anivoice, have roughly the same architecture, but their instruction sets differ from species to species (per-specimen for house cats) AND from peripheral to peripheral. In general, animals have very small instruction sets for interpreting each other's vocalizations, as it usually reveals their position to the enemy.

They have much larger instruction sets and libraries to process visual cues (body language, color, etc), which is where the dragon is lacking. Even if he wears a flower crown, has all kinds of birds perch on him, he'll still be an apex predator (as long as there aren't any humans around). So, he needs a way to get the animals to "listen to him" instead of running away.

How can a dragon prevent the animals from registering him as a threat? And just to be clear, these animals are identical to the ones on Earth and didn't evolve to instinctively consider dragons an ally. Also, while anivoice does make taming easier, the dragon doesn't have the time to do that, plus that wouldn't fall under the definition of the ability

Note: I'm not sure why people are Voting to close as off-topic, so:

It's not story-based. I said it, an effective anivoice (communication with animals) has to cover multiple senses, since only a few animals use vocalization as their primary way of conveying information. The prerequisite to being able to employ body language is being in a situation/context, where an animal would "listen".

The question's purpose is to find a reproducible way for an intelligent predator to be able to get the specified animals to listen.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ To whoever downvoted; care to explain what you feel is wrong with the question? $\endgroup$ – Matthew Feb 4 '20 at 17:38
10
$\begingroup$

Go betweens.

Gandalf and moth

source

The dragon must use intermediates. Since its voice is a voice, not moth whisper magic, the go betweens will probably be things that have a voice but are small enough that the dragon is not a threat. Crows would be a good option. They are a threat only to tiny things, they can speak, they are smart, they are not enough meat to be a meal for a dragon, and they profit by their association with the dragon - who is a regular source of tasty scraps.


as regards the dragon as perch - I think a flock of crows riding the dragon like oxpeckers would not be exactly cute, but rather malevolent. I picture the dragon speaking and various excited crows on and around it repeating snips of its words, or things it has said in the past or (the smart ones) crow commentary.

$\endgroup$
2
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm sure the dragon would get some other birds on board, plus a bunch of crows using the dragon's back as their playground does sound cute. This whole "Crows are associated evil" bs stops making sense once you see pet crows $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Feb 4 '20 at 18:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ gosh that'd be epic. a black feathered dragon with thousands of crow friends. $\endgroup$ – michael griffin Feb 4 '20 at 19:27
8
$\begingroup$

And just to be clear, these animals are identical to the ones on Earth and didn't evolve to instinctively consider the dragon an ally.

This is your solution right here

There is a phenomenon in nature known as “predator naïveté”. Animals are generally adapted to pay attention to predators in their local environment, when new predators are introduced they often fail to recognize them as a threat. In some cases the prey will walk right up to their predator and try and sniff them. This phenomenon is best known with humans or invasive predators on island landmasses like the Galapagos or Australia but happens in other parts of the world. For example when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone it took a while for their prey to realize they should be afraid of them. When the animal does turn out to be a threat they become wary and this wariness can be learned very quickly, moose and elk in Yellowstone learn to be afraid of wolves in about a generation and despite the memes the last dodos were very fearful and aggressive towards humans.

The question isn't why would an animal not be afraid of a dragon without any evidence of it being harmless, it's why would they be afraid of a dragon if they have no context or reason to believe the dragon would be a threat.

Most animals would be wary of a large, unknown species in their ecosystem, but they wouldn’t be outright afraid of them like they would a predator. As long as the dragons don’t go around burninating the countryside there isn’t much reason for the animals to fear them. They won't instinctively consider the dragon an ally, but because they have no history of being preyed on by dragons they won't have an instinctive fear of them and it will be less effort for them to regard the dragon as familiar. Smaller animals might also recognize that a dragon is too large to bother with hunting them, similar to how many small birds perch on crocodiles and ungulates in the wild. The fact that the dragons can speak a somewhat understandable version of their own language would go a long way into getting them to not recognize the dragon as a predator, because it would make them more likely to regard them as another individual of their own species (or at least a warped example of one) rather than being considered as an alien threat (as an analogy how often does human speech in science-fiction movies humanize alien characters?)

$\endgroup$
5
$\begingroup$

How can a dragon prevent the animals from registering him as a threat?

Don't act threatening.

Animals aren't stupid, and running away takes energy. I believe many/most prey animals will allow a predator to get within at least range that the dragon can (loudly) announce his benign intentions without spooking, if the dragon clearly isn't stalking them. (Once he can shout 'no threat!', hopefully they'll let him get closer... again, as long as he doesn't spook them!)

The trick is to look non-threatening. Approach at a casual pace from an angle or maybe circle around so that he doesn't seem to be approaching them deliberately. Avoid any pretense of stealth; make sure the animals know he's coming and know where he is, and make it clear he isn't trying to hide. Keep his head up and avoid looking directly at them. If they look like they're about to bolt, stop and wait for them to calm down. Try to look smaller without crouching. Absolutely under no circumstances open his wings. Etc. (Also, avoid leaving abruptly after an encounter; walk/trot a good distance away, calmly, before running or flying.)

Even better would be to get just close enough that they know he's there, announce himself and his desire to talk, and then let them be the ones to approach. If possible, lie down somewhere where he can still be easily seen (because he really wants to avoid any appearance of trying to hide).

I don't have any sources offhand to back this up, but I'm pretty sure this works in real life. (It definitely works with predatory animals that are less likely to think of themselves as prey, but even strong, healthy prey species that are less worried about being run down and/or overpowered easily should be approachable.)

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Is the dragon actually a threat?

Obviously it could eat the animals, but if it does not do so and never has done, they will (correctly) not identify it as a predator. Especially if it is able to remain motionless in one place for weeks at a time and smells very different to any other predator.

Great parallel world from wildlife spotting: if you've ever been birding or on safari, you know that so long as you stay in a vehicle, the animals are not bothered. You can get amazingly close. As soon as you open the door they are away, because they know that while cars are not a threat, people are. So a dragon is basically a car.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Familiarity

Animals instinctively fear new things. New is potentially deadly. Dragons interacting regularly with local specimens will reduce the fear. This allows for normal interaction.

When time is of the essence, you are an apex predator. Corner, Threaten and Demand obedience in exchange for their lives. This ensures a short term gain but will damage long term relationship with those unfortunate souls because trust cannot be earned so easily in the wild.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

If your dragon can use magic, it could use illusions to disguise its true form.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.