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Thread: Can Dragons Float?

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  1. #1
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    Can Dragons Float?

    A somewhat random question, but a question nonetheless. Anyway, I'm wondering whether dragons can float or not. Do you think that dragons are too heavy and dense to float in water, ensuring that they drown; or do you think that they would be light and less dense because they can fly, and thus would float in water?

    The reason why I ask is I'm trying to decide how the Norwegian Ridgeback goes about hunting aquatic prey, a trait unique to the species according to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. If dragons are too dense and would drown in water, I think the Norwegian Ridgeback would hunt aquatic life by using its talons to pluck fish that are too close to the surface out of the water, much like an Osprey would. On the other hand, if dragons can in fact float, I'm thinking that the Norwegian Ridgeback could dive straight into the water (like a cormorant) and kill its prey by shooting jets of hot bubbles, i.e. breathing fire underwater.

    So, any thoughts on whether dragons can float or not? Any suggestions on how the Norwegian Ridgeback hunts fish, seals, and other marine animals?

    Tim the Enchanter

  2. #2
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Hm, I know there is a mathematical formula relating relitive sive to weight to calculate density and figure out whether an object is capable of floating. Sadly, I am not a math person, and I do not know exactly what that formula is. Hopefully some of the site's math geniuses will, or else you will just have to look it up on your own. It shouldn't be that hard to find.

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  3. #3
    Inverarity
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    Most reptiles can swim. Flying reptiles would probably be even more bird-like, with less dense bones and bodies. So I'd say the answer is yes.

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    Yes, lizards can swim. But what I am wonder is whether or not dragons have too much density to be able to float in water. Remember, they do way several tons, and if their body density is too great, they would sink.

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  5. #5
    Inverarity
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    Yes, lizards can swim. But what I am wonder is whether or not dragons have too much density to be able to float in water. Remember, they do way several tons, and if their body density is too great, they would sink.

    Density has nothing to do with weight.

    Whales weigh several tons, too.

  6. #6
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    They probably can fly because of ther huge wings and magic - so they probably can float by magic, too. I can imagine a dragon diving fast, with its wings close to its body, and then ascending, maybe even by beating its wings... It's much cooler anyway

    And I think the point about whales is a very good one. Also, ships. There are ships that weigh several ten thousand tons, and they still stay afloat, because they're shaped to displace the weight of more water than they weigh themselves.
    To drift on the water surface, the dragon would just spread out its wings and, thus producing a larger.. base area (?) I think it would stay afloat easily.

    I think I would combine the two. If there's something close to the water surface, the dragon would just pick it up with its claws or jaw, and if it's hungry and can't find anything, it goes diving.

    How much exactly do dragons weigh anyway?
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  7. #7
    Halgy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    Density has nothing to do with weight.

    Whales weigh several tons, too.
    Acutally it has something to do with weight, but I'll take your point.

    There are very few large animals that can't float (since sinking is a distinct evolutionary disadvantage). I'd imagine that dragons can float. Yes, they weigh a lot, but they are also huge (volume wise).

    Large weight/large volume = possibly buoyant.

    Plus, they are magical; they can pretty much do anything you want (so long as J.K.R. hasn't said couldn't).

  8. #8
    x_GinnyPotter_x
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    interesting question. Personally, I can't see a dragon floating on the water's surface and paddling around like a duck.

    But more reasonably, I think depends on how they are able to fly. Birds can fly because they're lightweight and have hollow bones. Dragons certainly aren't lightweight, and I can't imagine hollow bones would work because of the amount of muscle dragons have. They have huge bodies that require a strong support to hold up. I'd think dragons are able to fly based more on pure strength and magical properties than physical adeptations similar to birds. Same with Threstrals - their body type wouldn't allow hollow bones, and I can't see them floating, either. More likely magical ability factors in to help them fly.

    Also, I just pulled out my copy of DH to check and make sure the dragon from Gringotts didn't float in the lake after the escape. No mention of it.

    It was already fifty feet away, swooping low over the lake to scoop up water in its scarred snout... the dragon flew on, its wing beating hard, and landed at last on a distant bank.
    But then again, it never said if that dragon was a Norwegian Ridgeback, so that may not mean anything.

    I'd imagine the Norwegian Ridgeback would hunt water-prey like an Osprey, grabbing seals and such out of the water with its huge talons. Maybe even small dolphins, since little fish might be a bit hard to grasp.

    Hope that might help!
    --Kayla

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