Zierendorf Miniature Dragon
A breed of Pseudodragon normally around the size of a small dog that is highly sought after by the richest inhabitants of Turoza as a living accessory. Their shiny scales that range from dark blue to green, clear bright eyes, handsome faces and noble bearing, along with their mild temperament and clear intelligence make them highly sought after as pets. The demand for the miniature dragon means that there are now very few individuals left in the wild and, as they are native to a single valley high in the Felsspitze Mountains, their population number was never very high in the first place. It is now thought that there are more Zierendorf Miniature Dragons living in captivity than there are left in the wild.
Anatomy & Morphology
Despite its name, the Zierendorf Miniature Dragon is not in fact a true dragon, but is instead a variety of Pseudodragon. In appearance, they do look like a true dragon that has been shrunk to a fraction of its normal size, and they tend to be around the same size as a whippet or large terrier. All Zierendorf Miniature Dragons have wings, with which they can fly, but there have been instances of callous owners having the wings removed when in captivity to restrict their movements. The Miniature Dragons, unlike their larger counterparts all have a stinger at the end of their tails that can deliver a nasty, but non-lethal sting if the creature feels it is being particularly threatened. Unsurprisingly these stingers are often removed in captivity as well.
Ecology and Habitats
Zierendorf Miniature Dragons are native to a single valley, in the Felsspitze Mountains, in the political area known as the Mountain Principalities. The creature is named after the Barony of Zierendorf, which claims dominion over the Miniature Dragons native range. Zierendorf itself is a mixture of heavy woodland that lines the mountainsides, interspersed with grassy meadows that carpet the valley floor. The majority of the Miniature Dragons live in the meadows, where they can be seen hovering above the grass, looking for small game to swoop down upon, in much the same way as birds of prey do. A smaller number of Zierendorfs have adapted to live on the wooded slopes, where they use the tree cover as a base from which to spot prey.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Zierendorf Miniature Dragons primarily exist on a diet of small game, rabbits, rodents, pheasants, wood pigeons and other game birds. They will always prefer to eat live prey, and it is common for Zierendorfs to stalk their already dead meals in captivity, where they will hover over their meal in the air before swooping down onto it and attempting to subdue their dinner with a few well aimed jabs of their stinger. In captivity, Zierendorfs need high places from which they can observe their surroundings, and seek shelter when they have grown weary of being fussed over.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Zierendorfs have excellent eyesight and are able to see both in the day and the night. Likewise, they have an excellent sense of smell, and it is thought that it is their sense of smell they rely on most for hunting, as the thick grass of their home ranges often obscures visuals of their prey. Conversely, Miniature Dragons are relatively hard of hearing, and it is common for them to become completely deaf in later life. Their blood relation with true dragons means that Zierendorfs are magic sensitive and can identify and are often drawn to sources of magic, though they cannot use magic themselves. A common way that trappers from the Barony of Zierendorf attempt to capture Miniature Dragons is to leave a magic item with a powerful magic aura as bait, in the hope of drawing out Zierendorfs who will come to investigate the object. It has been reported that Zierendorfs are able to use their magic sensitivity to form mental links with other species and individuals that are themselves sensitive to the arcane. Magic users from across Turoza who own a Zierendorf have reported this link ranges in strength from allowing the Miniature Dragon to convey basic emotions and feelings to their owners, to the exchanging of basic phrases and sentences.