For such a standoffish species, dragons seem remarkably prone to falling in love with the first human they have meaningful nonviolent contact with. It’s strangely cute, and also makes me wonder if that might not be part of the reason they’re so isolationist. The sort of territorial, strength-obsessed outlook that many of the dragons we’ve seen seem to have would likely consider love to be a weakness, after all.

I think that’s definitely true. Some of the more violent and dangerous dragons (so 99% of the population) would be nowhere near above using a rival dragon’s beloved human as a way of getting at them, and seeing how doting dragons are towards their chosen humans would lose them a lot of dragon street cred as well. So they tend to keep it to themselves for everyone’s sake. That said, it’s pretty well known among dragons that humans make good mates. 🙂

Do male and female dragons have distinct mating periods that need to overlap for a clutch to be laid, or is the mating period any time a male is in a rut? Or is the mating period not connected to ruts at all?

Male and female dragons experience a rut/heat cycle around the same time, usually in the early to mid-spring. A clutch can be laid outside of the mating period, but generally it doesn’t happen because that’s the period of highest fertility for both sexes, and it’s when the female’s body produces eggs to lay normally. It does happen that they can produce eggs outside of the mating season, and a male can fertilize an egg at any time.

Odd fact: Dragons from larger clutches are more likely to survive to maturity. Dragons from smaller clutches are more likely to be shapeshifters.

Mathilda? Can you explain dragon reproduction? Are they hatched from eggs? Do you normally have multiple eggs from the same male?

Mathilda: “Yes, dragons are hatched from eggs. What generally happens is that during the mating period, a female will choose a mate from available males and allow him to fertilize her eggs, then lay them. Clutches of eggs range from three to eight normally. It is often the case that the clutch is fertilized by the same male, but it is not uncommon for females to try out their options with a variety of viable males. It is not unheard of for the male who ends up taking care of the eggs not to be the actual sire, but most often he is.”