Fruit dragons, one of the smaller dragon species, are peaceful wyverns who live in orchards and forests. Due to their shy nature, sightings are extremely rare.
While their larger cousins are known for their fierce nature, treasure hoarding or immense wisdom, fruit dragons are a little-known species that rarely feature in any legends. A handful of old legends feature them as guides, leading heroes and adventurers to bountiful lands full of good food and magical promise. They are occasionally found living in sprite communities or in dryad groves.
Traits and Behavior
Fruit dragons range in size between 1/2 inch to a foot in length from snout to tail. They have four limbs, two wings and two legs, and a long tail often used to cling to branches. They have incredibly detailed camouflage, which will resemble the fruit tree or vines the dragons reside in. They often have sharp talons for climbing, and sharp teeth. Some species are venemous.
While winged, they cannot fly to great heights or for long periods of time, and typically glide from branch to branch. They generally live in tall trees, hiding amongst the foliage and building nests in the branches. Some will choose to live within sprite communities. Some will allow themselves to be ridden if they are large enough.
Fruit dragons are a social species that live in large groups, not just limited to family. A colony of dragons can have as many as 500 members, depending on local resources. They can often understand human speech, but communicate with each other in a variety of chirps and trills.
Fruit dragons are omnivores, and primarily eat fruit and flower nectar. Some will eat nuts or seeds as well. While they are not directly magical, their presence is known to improve the health of the plants they live near, hence their presence in magical communities or dryad groves. Fruit dragons hibernate in winter, as do many forest creatures, and emerge at the first bloom of spring.
Fruit dragons are not terribly territorial; they are more likely to abandon an area if a threat is nearby, and can live happily in mixed groups if their trust is earned. Their only aggressive behavior is at the direct threat against their eggs or hatchlings. at which point they will scratch or bite any attackers, focusing on the eyes. Often, the oldest of their colony will attack while the others carry away their hatchlings and eggs. Unlike their larger cousins, fruit dragons cannot breathe fire. In venomous species a single bite will cause nausea and dizziness; several bites can be lethal. Venom is most common in tropical species.
Fruit dragons have several natural predators. Besides larger birds and cats, goblins are known to eat fruit dragon eggs. The largest threat, however, is the cold. Fruit dragons are cold blooded and cannot handle freezing temperatures. In the daylight, they bask in the sun for hours, and at night they lay in large piles to retain heat. If a traveler is alone, and quiet, they may find fruit dragons gathering near their campfire, but they will flee if they realize they’ve been spotted.
Some fruit dragons settle in orchards. Farmers can encourage this by building bee hives, as fruit dragons are fond of honey and nectar, and by allowing for some fruit to rot on the trees as a food sources when fall begins fading to winter. In return, their orchards will flourish. Dragons cannot be kept in captivity alone, as they will die quickly without company and the warmth a colony provides, but they can be cultivated in larger groups if they are allowed to live outdoors and given access to a variety of foods. Despite primarily favoring the fruit that they are camouflaged to match, having a variety of options is necessary for long term health. A healthy fruit dragon can live to 300.
Fruit dragons require fresh fruit and plenty of sunlight and warmth to remain healthy. Depriving them of these will cause long term health effects. As they are only ever aggressive in the defense of their nests, it is unlikely you will ever face the issue of being threatened by one.
Some fruit dragons may move into a family garden or residence, and they can be a nuisance on personal harvests. the best way to remove them from one’s garden is to find their nest, as they will leave once their home is discovered. Wear a full body covering, such as a beekeeper’s uniform, to avoid being harmed if there are hatchlings or eggs within the nest. Fruit dragons have been known to abandon older hatchlings if scared off, so to avoid this proceed slowly; if they have begun to attack, wait until they cease and flee before proceeding to confirm they have not retreated further.