Was there ever a definitive description of how dragons and fire lizards defecate and what was done about it? I have read some descriptions saying that they do so between, while other sources stated this was not so. I also remember reading somewhere that the glows fed off of it like fungus.

One thing I did find was in SoP:

Eight families, gradually clearing enough land to grow essential crops as well as round up wild herdbeasts, had settled the valley that spread out north of Honshu. They protected their cluster of buildings and beastholds with dragon dung and firestone mash, the best deterrents for any pests in the south, apart from trundlebugs. Visiting dragons-and those staying at Honshu after the Fireball had added considerably to the perimeter-were encouraged to donate. Once the residues dried, there was little smell to aggravate human sensitivities, but what there was was sufficient to put off all but the hungriest predators.

  • Can't think of any reference for this...but probably the same thing older societies did. Put it on arable farmland to create planting soil. Dump it in trenches, or in the streets. It's not a topic 99% of authors feed the need to add, unless it is for a specific plot event or comic relief.
    – AbeLinkon
    Apr 18, 2013 at 7:09
  • @AbeLinkon I'm wondering more so if the feed-the-glows bit is true. Anne McCaffrey answered many questions regarding nitty gritty details in the series and sent many emails. I have found some archives with these but not pertaining to this.
    – Toider
    Apr 18, 2013 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


According to the excellent "The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern", dragons that are old enough to travel through the 'between' use this ability as a convenient way to avoid soiling their quarters.

Since this book was written in consultation with Anne McCaffrey (and in the absence of anything to contradict this statement in the books themselves) this seems as good an explanation as any you're going to find:

Dragons who are over a Turn in age excrete while between. The excretal opening is concealed in the spade-shaped end of the tail, pressed closed by the forked end. Before the dragonets learn to fly between to evacuate, the weyrlings on punishment duty have the job of mucking out the Weyrling Barracks.

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