The “dragons” are in fact endemic to a vast network of aquatic caves in southeastern Europe. Encompassing the karst of the Dinaric Alps, a rugged mountain range that skirts the Adriatic Sea, their habitat includes parts of southern Slovenia, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
In 2017, then, the Croatian group Association Hyla organized a team of “dragon hunters.” Made up of international cave divers and biologists, the team had chosen as their site of study a Croatian lake called Zagorska pec. In fact, it’s one of several such habitats identified by the organization in recent years.
The “dragons” in question are actually a rare species of salamander known as olms (Proteus anguinus). And the fact that they sometimes wash up after heavy rain means that people in the past incorrectly identified them as baby dragons. Still, looking at the animals, it’s easy to see why.