My next Pokémon to compare are the evolutions of Charmander, Charmeleon and Charizard.
At first glance these three Pokémon look just like dinosaurs, and there are so many reptiles out there that look like they should belong in Jurassic Park so I decided to take a closer look at their names instead.
Charmander is the first stage and is my favorite of the Fire Pokémon.
- Char – the definition of char is to burn or scorch, makes sense for a fire Pokémon.
- Mander – the obvious animal with mander in the name is the Salamander. It makes perfect sense once combined with the root meaning of Char, Fire
The Fire Salamander (picture right) is possibly the best well known species of Salamander found in central and southern Europe and has been found in furthers areas such as Africa and western Asia. Looking at this striking amphibian you will probably think it looks nothing like Charmander, and you are right, not many animals this millennia do, which is why I think the creator got a little bit creative with the names and the myths that came about from this animal.
The fire salamander is believed to have received its name from hiding in logs that had been chopped for the purpose of being burnt then running away once the logs were placed on the fire. Another myth is that our ancestors believed these incredible amphibians could not only withstand fire but they also lived in it. A little farfetched I know but who am I to question the stories of our ancestors. Stories have to come from somewhere right?
Charmeleon is quite obviously based on the Chameleon. Where there are no fire species of chameleon known, some species can still change their skin into a fiery red color (pictured left), depending on its mood. This is very much like Charmeleon, when his mood changes the fire on his tail either gets smaller or larger. Although there are around 180 species of known Chameleons, one species does come to mind and that is the Panther Chameleon native to eastern and northern parts of Madagascar. These are one of the larger species of Chameleon found and determines its mood through an outstanding colour display. I might add though it is mainly the males that demonstrate these fantastic colours.
Lastly we have Charizard, the final stage of this Pokémon’s evolution. With Charizard I was thinking about lizards with wings. Now believe it or not, we do have a flying dragon alive and thriving in the world today. Meet the Draco Volans, otherwise known as the flying dragon, native to Southeast Asia. These remarkable arboreal (means they live in trees) lizards belong to the genus of gliding lizards called Draco. They have two folds of skin attached to its moveable ribs that when extended outwards, can form wings. They use these wings to glide from tree to tree, clearing distances of up to 8 meters; sadly it can’t actually fly and is only able to glide. Its wings when spread are a fiery orange red colour.
There you have it, three completely different species of Pokémon and three completely different but amazing species of animal. The Fire Salamander, the Panther Chameleon and the Flying Dragon.