Birth of a Chiao-Lung

A Chiao-Lung dragon can be born from a fish called kiai-lin, [1] and it is said that eggs left by pheasants and snakes, if incubated for a thousand years in the ground, hatch Chaio-Lung. [6] Chiao-Lung are also born when water accumulates and becomes a new river. [5] Some very old tiger fish transform into Chiao-Lung, and sometimes the transformation occurs when a fish weighs over two thousand catty. [6]

Once a Chiao-Lung lives for a thousand years, it becomes a lung dragon. [1]

Physical Description

Chiao-Lung has the head of a tiger and the shape of a snake. [6] In other accounts, the Chiao-Lung has the body of a fish and the tail of a snake, [3] and it is a dragon with many scales. [2] Chiao-Lung are also described as snakes that wear a white necklace that have four legs and thin necks. [6] A Chiao-Lung's eyebrows are connected; thus they earned the name Chiao. [6]

Their voices of Chiao-Lung are like mandarin ducks [3] or like the bellowing of a cow. [6]

Habitat and Life Cycle

Where the water flows South through the Tao Kwo Mountains to the Sea, Chiao-Lung abound, especially the 'tiger-Chiao.' [3] Chiao-Lung will lie hidden in pools to sleep, [4] and they live in special mountain rivulets. [3]

These dragons need water to invigorate their energy. [4] As the gods of water animals, [4] or in some cases the head of three hundred and sixty scaly animals, [5] the water they live in gives them their power. [4] This is why, when people drain marshes, the Chiao-Lung do not fare well. [4]

Chaio-Lung lay their eggs up in the hills. [4] Since the Chiao-Lung mostly inhabit rivulets, pools, and under rock caves, [6] the eggs are left to incubate spontaneously. [4]

Chiao-Lung as Deities

In Ancient China, the Chaio-Lung were considered common water animals and dangerous to people, [6] and they were the principal god of the rivers and brooks. [6] If someone eats swallows, they are warned not to cross a body of water or to go into a body of water, for the chaio-lung love swallow, and will surely eat that person. [5]

Eating the flesh of a chiao-lung cures and prevents boils and piles. [3]


  1. De Visser 72
  2. De Visser 73
  3. De Visser 76
  4. De Visser 77
  5. De Visser 78
  6. De Visser 79

For more information on footnotes and references, please see the bibliography.