I just occurred to me that, in all fiction that I can think of, dragons don't move like other lizards. I want to clarify that I'm talking about more traditional 4-legged dragons and not 2-legged ones (or wyverns), which you do see walking more like a bat which makes sense (Smaug, The Hobbit films).

Besides the obvious characterisation in some settings (How to train your dragon, for example), I don't recall ever seeing or reading about a dragon that moves like lizard (monitor lizard for example).

Have dragons always been like this? Was there a turning point where dragons starting being represented more upright with their legs underneath them (as opposed to the coming-out-the-side legs other lizard have)?

P.S. I looked through the list of SEs and thought that this was the right exchange for this question; Feel free to point me elsewhere.

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    This seems very broad. Also, monitor lizards look thoroughly stupid when running; youtube.com/watch?v=aRG5oT7Ds0k which might explain it
    – Valorum
    Oct 3, 2019 at 16:26
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    I figured it might be a bit broad for StackExchange; Not to worry, I'll find somewhere better to post it. Monitors look a little less stupid when they're bigger (Komodo Dragons), but I see your point.
    – Alex Meuer
    Oct 3, 2019 at 16:32
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    What do you mean by asking why dragons don't walk lie "other" lizards? Why do you assume that dragons are lizards? Oct 3, 2019 at 16:40
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    Dragons aren't lizards, and there is no reason for them to move similarly. If you want to assign them a real life category, it likely would not get much narrower than reptile - an extremely wide category that includes snakes, turtles, birds (yep!), dinosaurs, etc - a whole lot of animals with all sorts of methods of locomotion.
    – Misha R
    Oct 3, 2019 at 17:32
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    Not really adding anything of note here, but during the development of Dragon Age: Inquisition, they based the movements of the dragons off of cats. If you try to fight one, they really captured the movement of the cats quite well.
    – goat_fab
    Oct 7, 2019 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


What do you mean by asking why dragons don't walk like "other" lizards? Why do you assume that dragons are lizards?

Lizards are a subcategory of reptiles. Are dragons even reptiles?

That is what this question asks: Is Smaug a reptile?1

What do Tolkien's dragons themselves think about the subject of their relationship to lizards? I can quote Smaug:

Lake-men, some nasty scheme of those miserable tub-trading Lake-men, or I’m a lizard.
The Hobbit - Chapter 12, Inside Information

  • Doesn't seem to answer the question.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Oct 3, 2019 at 17:06

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