10 fun facts about wyvern dragons

Dragons are a big part of the myths of various cultures, featuring in stories across the globe, from China to Wales. They take a number of different forms, one of which is the wyvern. This scary mythical beast has two legs (instead of the usual four), two wings and a serpentine body. Let’s find out more about this formidable creature.


  1. Its tail is poisonous

The wyvern’s long tail has an arrow-like point at the end, which is used to administer a lethal dose of poison to its victims. This is very handy in battles - the wyvern is aggressive and will fight both its own kind and other creatures.


  1. It’s a speedy flyer

The wyvern’s body is built for aerial speed and agility. Its serpentine shape is aerodynamic, and its wings are similar to a bat’s, providing levels of control and manoeuvrability that other dragons don’t have.


  1. It’s BIG

According to Dragonology by the fictional writer and dragonologist Ernest Drake, the wyvern is the largest of all dragons, reaching up to 6m in height and 15m in length. Its wingspan is an incredible 30m - the equivalent of two buses parked end to end.


  1. It has a big appetite

Such a mighty beast is sure to have a big appetite. In fact, the wyvern is known to have been able to eat elephants, rhinos and hippos - prey that is abundant in its home lands of the African savannah.


  1. It lives for over 100 years

The wyvern is thought to live to at least 100 years old, with one example reaching the grand old age of 158.


  1. It’s green and brown

As babies, wyverns are brown and spiny. Adults are green or green-brown in colour, with a paler belly and wings. As they age, some develop lime green spots.


  1. Wyvern young stay with mum for 20 years

Wyvern eggs take 36 months to hatch, and like many human children, the young are with their mother for 15-20 years before going it alone. Once fledged, wyverns are nomadic, moving from place to place according to the availability of food and other factors. 


  1. The name means ‘snake’

The wyvern’s name comes from the Middle English wyver, which itself is a variation on the French wivre, meaning any type of snake. The ‘n’ was added in the 17th century.


  1. It appears on heraldry

The wyvern was used on the family crests of several significant  English families, most notably the rulers of Wessex. Symbolising strength and endurance, it was a mark of the families’ power.


  1. It was also associated with alchemy

Medieval alchemists also adopted the wyvern as a symbol of base metals such as lead and copper. The alchemist was then represented as a knight overcoming the beast - that is, transforming the ordinary metals into gold.


If you’re a fan of dragons and fairy shows, don’t miss the spectacular Dragons and Mythical Beasts Live, which is currently touring the UK. One of the best family shows around, it’s designed for children and includes amazing puppetry and lots of interactive moments. Book your tickets today.