The Olm.

This slinky salamander looks like something strait out of a Tolkien universe. They’re pale and pretty in an otherworldly way, but if you don’t like snakes, you won’t like olm.

Oh, and these little guys are the original dragon spawn.

By Arne Hodalič - Author's own work. Uploaded with permission., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1923565
By Arne Hodalič – Author’s own work. Uploaded with permission., CC BY-SA 3.0.

Europeans witnessed these mysterious creatures pouring out of caves and believed them to be dragon’s babies.

Now, we all know that’s false because Daenerys Targaryen is the true mother of dragons.

So what are olm? Olm are a species of aquatic salamander. Uncomfortably long with little arms and legs at either end of its slim body, you wonder that it doesn’t just drop the appendages and be a snake. Its head and coloring sometimes give it the appearance of a certain member of male anatomy and its eyes are completely blind.

Olm are also completely aquatic and can live past 100 years. They’re a symbol of Slovenian natural heritage, Slovenia being one of the only places in the world olm are found. Olm are vulnerable to slight changes in their environment, including warming temperatures, chemical run-off and pollution. They’re also only found in caves in Central and Southeastern Europe, which makes conservation efforts important.

If seeing these creepy-cool creatures is on your bucket list, one option is Postojna Cave Park in southwestern Slovenia.

In 2016, one of the cave’s olms laid around 50 eggs, 21 of which hatched and grew into adult olm. It was a first in the scientific community and a chance to see baby dragons be born.

My favorite olm is Boris, the cheeky little guy that almost didn’t make it. You can read all about the baby olms’ journeys on Postojna’s website.

Olm too freaky for you to visit? Postojna Cave Park might make it on your bucket list anyway for sites like the beautiful castle nestled into the side of the mountain that houses the cave complex, as well as to see the caves themselves.

Don’t worry, Daenerys, we might have witnessed baby dragons be born, but we all know you’re the mother of dragons.

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