Height: 11 ft.
Length: Appx. 23 ft.
Weight: 2.2 tons
Lifespan: 90+ years
Status: EW (Extinct in the Wild)
Species: D. avimimus
Nicknames: Wind Dragon, Royal Zebra Wyvern
HISTORY: Terrors are possibly the most well known dragon species in the universe, well renowned mainly for its great speed and agility. Archean royalty was the first and only one to easily tame and train them, and have since used them in hunts or long distance racing games. Of all the dragon species, Terrors, and dragons in general, were the most favorited gifts by the kings of the Alpha Clan. The dragons shared a close bond with their owners, and were very protective of them. And once in a blue moon, a mutation will occur, causing a chick to be melanistic, just like black leopards on Earth. An uncommon morph was called the King Terror, which was highly melanistic, or very bold patterns of black. Leucistic and albino morphs can occur, but rarely.
Nobility hardly ever owned Terrors. To those that do, special races were held, much like horse races, but more extreme and deadly in some cases.
DESCRIPTION: Terrors are the largest and strongest of the family known as 'dromaeodracids,' or 'speedy dragons,' despite not having a killer claw like its smaller cousins. Like all dromaeodracids, Terrors hunt and cooperate in packs or pairs, though much smaller numbers, and are extremely intelligent and social. The males can stand up to almost 12 feet tall, while the females are slightly smaller. They are a medium sized species of dragons. Males are also the most conspicuous, having more decorative striped feathers on their head, usually numbering around 13 or more in the crown at least depending on age. Older males have more. This style is similar to that of their smallest relative the Wyn. Males sport a single sharp horn on their snouts on fully mature specimens, and are mostly for display than for fighting, and older males have very long horns. The hens lack all of these features, and they do have limited striping patterns on their bodies. A small percentage of females are born stripeless, or pure white. Females and males are white to light gray in coloration, but are spotted and striped with black markings that seem to cover up their feathers and almost all around, including their tails, with males having the most stripings. Both sexes have striped black and white tails, but only males have some orange tints on their primary wing feathers and throats, and possess orange eyes. Also, males have dark orange coloration on the tips of their crown feathers and primary wing feathers. Terrors have two-toed feet, perfect for running at great speeds over long distances. Hatchlings mainly have blue eyes, but change color to orange as they mature, though in some cases the blue eye color can be kept if it is recessive. Adults have charcoal gray legs and beak, though they can also have more of a dark, dirty rust-like color.
RANGE: The Terror's homeland is found in the deserts and grassy plains of the small continent of Ingris; they are the apex predators of Idgris. Terrors often migrate in small flocks to other continents during times of drought, and sometimes will come into contact with other dragon species. They never breed outside of Idgris. They're the only dragon species that can tolerate less oxygen at the highest of Argo's altitudes and elevations.
FEEDING: Their diet consists of mainly herbivors that are fairly half their size, but can bring down large prey like Shagga. It is not uncommon for a flock of terrors to bring down larger prey, seldom targeting only the sick, lame, or young. Terrors chase their quarry, repeatedly biting at the legs and throat until blood loss and exhaustion take toll. In younger animals, the dragon can hammer its beak-like snout down onto the prey's unprotected head, often killing it on impact. Like many carnivores, Terrors are opportunistic, eating carrion rather than make their own kills the majority of times. Rarely does a lone, migrant Terror defend its kill against larger dragons. They are built for speed rather than strength and specialize in chasing fast moving prey, like cheetahs do on Earth. Their main prey items can run at great speeds, mainly the Ugulot, which are unique to Idgris.
HABIT: Terrors are considered to be the fastest of all known dragons in the universe, rivaling that of even the Night Fury. Like all dragons, Terrors have a pair of flight bladders and hyrdrogen-producing bacteria in their gut that help enable and sustain flight. Their leathery flight membranes are covered in large feathers, the longest of any species. Yet despite having winged, feathered forelimbs capable of strong, superb flight, Terrors are almost completely terrestrial the majority of their lives. Terrors are also very social, often flocking or walking in groups of up to ten dragons when migrating.
When threatened by rivals or predators, the males make hissing noises, and flare up their feathers, making them seem larger than they appear. And they have no ordinary feathers. These feathers can be stretched to great lengths, doubled or even tripled, than that of their normal lengths. The females can do the same thing, but they are not as large and possess smaller feathers. So instead, the females secrete a foul-smelling substance that can be spat on or in front of the intruder in an attempt to throw it away from her presence, a trait that males seldom use. A terror's last resort is flight. The chicks, usually about two or three of them, have multiple ways of defense against predators should the parents be absent. Their first line of defense is extending their fluffy down feathers to make them larger. Should this fail, they make an ear-piercing scream to briefly stun the predator and disorientate it. This distress call can signal both parents and unrelated adults to help protect it. If not, they can also spit a disgusting, smelling and sticky slimeball like their mother. And if that doesn't work, their mouth is ladened with killing bacteria, meaning that if they bite something, it'll get sick and die from infection. This strategy is similar to that of Komodo monitors on Earth.
Terrors, again like cheetahs, cannot win a fight against the larger dragon species, fleeing away if threatened. An adult terror can mock at an adolescent large dragon with some success away from a kill, and always wins against their smaller dromaeodracid cousins.
REPRODUCTION: The courtship of Terrors is not so complex, and females are known to be fickle. She will pair off with only the fittest male. But first the male must engage in a dragon version of a "chicken fight" as roosters would when claiming rights to mate with hens, and also hiss fiercely at one another, as well as mock charging and biting in attempt to get the best breeding ground. This is when the male's sharp spurs on their hindlegs come in handy. Battles aren't usually fatal, but they can produce serious outcomes to the loser. Once the victor earns his right to choose a mate, his greatest challenge will be to grab the female's attention, as females come into season one month every six years. He will first attempt to have her notice him by pawing at the ground with his talons, and produce vocal sounds that can range from a roar to a loud rambling screech as he trots side to side in front of her, disaplying his head feathers and his horn while bobbing his head, fluttering and flaunting them before her in such a flirtatious manner. Should she get drawn in, the male will then play his final act- jumping up and down, aided by his muscular wings to help him gain air, like a sort of jumping contest. If accepted, the female will lead her suitor high in the the air, locking talons with him and dropping out the way bald eagle pairs do. Mated pairs are always very affectionate to one another, and often preen each other's feathers to strengthen their bond. They stay together for life.
Terrors can sometimes nest in small colonies in open grasslands, and even take down prey in small groups. They nest on the ground the way an ostrich would, both parents taking turns incubating the eggs, which normally number seven to ten in one clutch. In rare cases, a male, even upon mating, may rule over a harem of subordinate females who have missed on their chance of finding a mate. It is not uncommon for adults to "eggsit" another neighbor's nest should any of the parents be gone for long periods of time. This helps ensure a high survival rate for the chicks, though at least a small percentage do not survive. This behoavior is the same as Society finches on Earth, taking turns sitting on other parents' nests. Like all reptiles and birds, temperature predetermines the gender of the chick, 80-90 degrees for females, and 94 or higher for males. incubation last for almost two months. When the chicks hatch, they are like miniature versions of their mothers, only more infant-like in appearance, and have gray beaks and legs, and covered in fluffy white down instead of feathers. Their down is super temporary, lasting up to just two days before they shed into their more solid body feathers. At this age, males are easily distingished from their sisters by the presence of orange on their heads. All chicks are more striped than the adults, serving as camoflauge in the thick brush from larger predators. Male chicks will form a small bump on their snouts in a year that will one day become a horn.
Parents are fiercly protective of their chicks, even if it's not their own. As they mature, the male chicks start to stick out more among their sisters, and their head feathers start to develop longer with black stripes. The males may also become more independent. Females usually stay together sometimes, often forming small flocks with unrelated females. The young usually stay with the parents until about six years of age when their parents push them out of the nesting area, and are sexually mature by age seven. The average lifespan of terrors are approximately 100 years; longer in captivity.
STATUS: Terrors are extinct in the wild, thriving on only 115 individuals in captivity. And with only fifteen of them males, the male terror is considered one of the rarest of all dragon species. Terrors, especially the males, were heavily hunted on a large scale, their meat, eggs, and feathers highly prized. The male's horn, though brittle, was made of a rare type of ivory. Chicks were often stolen and sold as pets, but without their mother, the chicks died within 36 hours due to severe separation anxiety. And trophy hunters would often hunt them as a sporting dragon, as they were almost impossible to capture and kill due to their speed, and mostly for their feathers and meat.
Most of the captive terrors are easy going, yet wild. The last known truly wild animal is a lone male found roaming the grasslands of Ingris named Ob. Ob, which is Archean for "spirit," has now become the iconic symbol for the immediate conservation of all dragon species universewide. A plan to breed and reintroduce them back into the wild in underway.