Contrary to popular belief serpentine dragons are not in fact magical or related to the European wyvern but instead are descended from the Chrysopelea. some common characteristics of serpentine dragons are:

  • are on average 20 feet long
  • are not capable of powered flight but instead are able to glide for long distances
  • have fins derived from their ribs
  • have a pedal like tail for steering
  • have claw like scales for climbing
  • have above average intelligence compared to other snakes

given these characteristics could serpentine dragons exist and how might they evolve?

NOTE: magic does not exist in my story

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This immediately takes me to Chinese dragons and how they are portrayed and part of that culture. $\endgroup$
    – user72081
    Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ How much do they weigh? 25 feet is length, but it’s not hard to have a skinny snake get that long. $\endgroup$
    – user71781
    Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ I think eels were also an inspiration for serpent dragons $\endgroup$
    – user69935
    Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by 'pedal-like tail'? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 7:44

1 Answer 1


Size is Totally Realistic

An average length of 25 feet is easily achievable in snakes, as Anacondas regularly reach 18 feet in length, Burmese Pythons reach 23 feet, and the extinct Titanoboa reached over 42 feet. As for weight, anacondas can weigh up to 400 pounds, so that’s about what you should get for your snake dragons.

Gliding is Possible

If your serpentine dragons weighed as much as a Burmese Python or Anaconda they would be far heavier than any gliding animal that currently exists, as most of them are but a few ounces. But this does not necessarily mean that you can’t have a 400+ pound glider. Birds of prey frequently resort to gliding flight, and it’s thus very likely that the massive Quetzalcoatlus Pterosaurs were also able to do it, and they weighed hundreds of pounds. The Dragon would definitely have to climb to an elevated position before it could glide.

Extended Ribs and Paddle Tails

These have already evolved in snakes, it’s completely feasible.

Climbing Scales Probably Wouldn’t Work

The scales and supporting muscles would be absurdly strong to propel a 400 pound snake up a tree, especially given that the snake already has a much more straightforward method of climbing; it will simply use its massive strength to coil and move up the tree. Pythons already climb this way.


Having “above average intelligence for a snake” is a very broad field that lends a lot of slither room. Intelligence is a trait that can be selected for, and it could be explained in simple evolutionary terms as simply being more advantageous over time

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    $\begingroup$ gliding does not seem that it would be easy for this thing to do. It could have a larger wing surface area than Quetzalcoatlus, and weigh less, but it would be nearly impossible for it to jump of a high place to glide. possibly some sort of coiling of the body and springing could work. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 8:51
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    $\begingroup$ @meaninglessname It's worth noting that Quetzalcoaltus was capable of powered flight, which has harder requirements than just gliding. A 400-pound creature might still be capable of gliding, given a suitable surface area (not necessarily wings, those are just the usual shape nature comes up with). As for whether or not a snake could develop appropriately, I don't have an answer to that one, and that's the hard part. $\endgroup$
    – Palarran
    Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ I really meant the jumping aspect, since the animal is legless. I am sure once in the air the creature could glide and possibly fly. But, that requires the creature to get into the air which seems incredibly hard to do as a snake. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 12:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @meaninglessname there are gliding snakes in real life, and they jump from tree tops. Perhaps this dragon snake just climbs huge trees $\endgroup$
    – user71781
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 3:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ possibly. I will look into the launching mechanisms of these snakes as this seems interesting. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 6:53

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