Research Note: Dragons and Princesses

Currently working on book three of Mara of the League. Since this book includes princesses, I decided it should also include a dragon. Princess-consort Cordelia Aurellius-Maxwell has a pet lizard named Horace. I have been researching what it is like to raise lizards in real life.

It turns out that there is a debate about how domesticated lizards feel about their people. Scientists have traditionally discouraged the idea that animals – and especially reptiles – have emotions. Nevertheless, many lizards and snakes behave in ways which show they recognize human companions. Certain species (e.g. bearded dragons) are visibly affectionate. This suggests reptiles have feelings after all.

Apparently, since there are opposing points of view, some experts have decided to look for middle ground. I have read a number of articles saying that bearded dragons do feel love, but that since they are reptiles, they do not feel it deeply.

This leads me to ask, if we agree reptiles have feelings, who are we to say how deep their feelings are? Feelings, more or less by definition, are meaningful. Reptile feelings feel important to reptiles. Compromises sound reasonable, but they are not always right.

And bearded dragons are really cute!