Instead of a pepper spray I like to adopt a more friendly approach towards hostile animal such as a fridge sized dragon, with an aerosol spray containing oxytocin of course. I think this chemical can induce powerful feeling such as affection and maternal instinct in animal so my question is would it works on an approaching dragon which is baring it's teeth and salivating profusely? This is in collaboration with SPCA and WWF to celebrate World Dragon Day, hooray!

  • $\begingroup$ Oxcytocin - in mammals yes. Lizards use something else - argine vasopressin, but you're discounting attachment. Just because a mother loves their baby, doesn't mean she won't fight to the death anything that threatens it. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 2:44
  • $\begingroup$ They also might be evolved from birds, as the more recent theories suggest about dinosaurs. Oxytocine probably wouldn't work there either. Besides, maternal instinct doesn't necessarily mean maternal instinct toward YOU. It might simply mean that instead of snacking on you, it'll take you to its nest for its young. $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 5:04
  • $\begingroup$ A pheromone would be more appropriate for your intended change in behavior. It would need to have been developed from extracting dragon pheromone, though. So it may be difficult to obtain or manufacture. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ Are you not worried that the oxytocin could also affect the woman spraying it, and that the result could be little fridge-sized dragon babies 9 months later? $\endgroup$
    – wingnut
    Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 9:36

3 Answers 3


This is extremely unlikely for a range of reasons.

Firstly, note that pepper spray works because it has an immediate irritant effect on the eyes, throat and lungs. It isn't required to cross the lungs into the bloodstream, be circulated around the body, be taken up into the brain, modulate a bunch of nerve responses, trigger the secretion of a bunch of other chemicals and ultimately, hopefully, cause a change in behavior. Packaging oxytocin in such a way that it is stable for storage, and can be freely aerosolized into very fine particles, and can reliably reach deep into the lungs and be absorbed in a strong-enough concentration from a dispersing cloud of droplets in the air is a difficult problem in pharmaceutical engineering.

Secondly note that the amount of chemical that will be inhaled is very difficult to control. It would be very easy (indeed likely) that too little will be inhaled, and inhaling too much is unlikely to cause anyone to become extra snuggly, but is more likely to have unpleasant effects you weren't banking on.

Thirdly, just because oxytocin moderates maternal bonding doesn't mean that it has no other effects. In humans it stimulates in-group bonding and behaviors likely to benefit the in-group over the out group (eg. the role of oxytocin in self-serving lying) and can also have interesting effects on suppressing risk-aversion. Consider that this might make a dragon more likely to see you as ideal food for its offspring, and/or more likely to fight harder to defend its kin. In humans, oxytocin levels are also strongly associated with sexual arousal, and maybe transforming a large angry hungry predator into a large angry hungry horny predator is not quite the defence that you might be looking for.

Lastly, there's no guarantee that oxytocin works on dragons at all, nor is there any guarantee that it works the same way on male and female and juvenile dragons. Maybe it has no effect, maybe it just moderates appetite. Honestly, you'd be better off with a decent gun. You can salve your conscience afterwards, as you'll probably still be alive enough to have a conscience.

  • $\begingroup$ Oxytocin is related to mating, but mostly as a result. It is helpful in the lead up to mating, but it is strongly related to many social bonding activities as well. Getting dosed with it will not automatically make you horny. Otherwise a +1 answer. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Commented May 4, 2022 at 9:03
  • $\begingroup$ Shagged to death by a horny dragon. What a way to end the heroes journey. Throwing love potions was a bad idea.. $\endgroup$
    – Pica
    Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Pica I don't kinkshame. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 11:39

Without something to deliver it quickly and possibly augment or complement the effects it has, it most likely would not have the intended effect. (Assuming mammal-like dragons) Oxytocin could calm the dragon down, but that might take effect after they've already eaten you. With something to deliver the oxytocin, they might get calmer; but if they're hungry and looking for prey, that might not matter.

Also, the effects of the oxytocin might only extend to other dragons, meaning that whatever effects it does have would just skip over you. We have a character (A very, very large wolf), and we decided after some research that he would become trusting and cuddly after being injected with a concentrated oxytocin-based serum, essentially using it as a truth serum with side effects. Later, he was able mentally force himself to be violent through force of will, so it depends on if your dragons are sapient, or just really want to eat you, at which point the spray would only be a mild deterrent. Of course, we took some liberties by adding unspecified extra chemicals to it, some of which are likely to be magical or non-existent in the real world, as the world this takes place in doesn't follow all of the rules we have. Also, if the dragon perceives you as a hatchling of some kind through the haze of whatever chemicals you threw at them; they might try to nest you or feed you. :)


In the real world: Probably not, unless you tried really hard and used some other chemicals along with it; maybe even nanotech.

With some small liberties taken: Could be a decently effective non-violent solution to pepper spray, but would likely be illegal to use on any sapient beings (you are essentially forcing a mind-altering drug into someone).

With some large liberties taken: You can do anything with large liberties taken.


I would not advise it..

You'd get baked, then crushed and probably eaten

Of course, this love-drug will work fine with dragons. Their high level brain is compatible with this type of drug, it could make the dragon hallucinate. But as Starfish Prime already indicates, one of the effects of oxytocin is your dragon will regard you as a candidate mate. It would get horny.

As a human, you don't want any misunderstanding. A dragon's weight on top of you would exceed certain limits and there will be fire involved in a dragon's mating ritual. For love and affection, you'd get baked first, and then crushed.. Afterward, when the love-drug has stopped working, the dragon will feed your remains to its offspring. Dragons often bake meat for their offspring, because young dragons have a weak immune system.

  • $\begingroup$ Oxytocin is not solely used in mating. Without further sexual stimuli it is unlikely that it would try to mate with you. In addition, the hormone does not set in hallucinations. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Commented May 4, 2022 at 8:58

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