Is it weird if I use the word ‘torpor’ in my story?

The main characters of the novel I am working on are both dragons.  This is making the science nerd in me come out full-force while writing.

Dragons are reptiles.  Yes, they are magical, mythical, fantasy-story reptiles.  Yes, I stretched the bounds of biology when I gave them four legs and two wings each.  (In all extant species, and probably all extinct ones as well, vertebrates are all constrained to a maximum of four limbs.  I fudged it for my story – I don’t like two-legged dragons.)  This doesn’t mean that the zoologist in me hasn’t spoken up about several things in the plot.

First, it’s been challenging to describe their expressions.  Reptiles have fixed faces; that means no scowling, no eyebrow raising, and the best they can do for a smile is gape.  I’ve used a lot of eyelid expressiveness, along with snorting and blowing air.  I can also play with pupil dilation, but that’s pretty much the limit.

I’ve also had fun with thermoregulation.  (I did indeed just say thermoregulation.  Here’s a definition.)  Although they are large, so they can conserve heat like the crocodilians (and likely the dinosaurs, although scientists can only speculate there), my dragons do depend at least a bit on their environment to maintain their body temperature.  This gives me some fun behavior to use.  They like to bask in the sun.  They can change the amount of food they need by modifying their surroundings.  Being a sentient, intelligent reptile, they have modified their environment to create warm places to sleep and live.  Best of all, I have developed a scene where one of the dragons starts to go into torpor unintentionally. 

I know it’s fiction, but I like to keep things working scientifically whenever possible.  It’s just a quirk of mine, I guess.  🙂

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