top of page

Crouching Lizard Flying Dragon

Draco, Coorg -

Not all blockbusters play to packed audiences. Nor do all heroes crave the spotlight. One of Coorg’s leading action stars features in incredible action sequences that would otherwise be considered flights of fancy, but doesn’t stay around for the applause. Like all great performers, he blends into his roles-and very often his surroundings-with such good effect that fans hunting for him are liable to miss the woods for the trees. Just like in the image above. If you look hard, you may just about spot a dark shape embossed on the dappled bark. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Incredible Draco, the Flying Star of Coorg! The Southern Flying Lizard, or Draco Dussumieri to friends and fans, sports a unique wing membrane between his limbs that he uses to glide from tree to tree. While he can insouciantly glide up to sixty metres just for kicks, there’s a lot more drama when he uses his flying skills to leave predators pawing at empty air and looking very foolish. This ‘Lizard Wizard’ is not just surreal, but arboreal, which means he spends most of his life above the ground, and rarely descends to be amongst us mere mortals. The only time he does condescend to come down is when that primal urge for immortality comes upon him, and he seeks to propagate his lineage. When he does spot a potential mate, he pays court by standing rigidly on his forelegs, bobbing his head in her direction, and vigorously vibrating his wing membrane to show they share good vibes. His body turns silver-grey and he slowly circles around her, occasionally touching her rump with his extended throat appendage. Invariably, this potent cocktail of power-courting techniques proves irresistible to her, thereby ensuring that the next generation of Flying Dragons is ready to glide off the production line.

Photograph: Ganesh H. Shankar Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

bottom of page