Wyverns are interesting creatures because they are so common in art, pop culture, tattoos and more- but their origin story is relatively unheard of.
Wyverns are most commonly compared to dragons, though they have been established in mythology as slightly different beasts.
People who choose to get a wyvern tattoo either know a lot about mythological creatures, or don’t know much at all and think they are getting a dragon tattoo!
The cool thing about wyvern and even dragon tattoos is that, while they are common, there is no traditional style associated with them.
A would be tattoo client can talk to their tattoo artist about creating something that feels unique to them.
Because it is not a spiritual or religious symbol, anyone from any culture can choose a wyvern for their tattoo design without the risk of offending someone.
Some popular tattoos are also sacred symbols, so this is an important thing to take note of!
Let’s dive in and learn a little more about wyverns!
Who are they, where do they come from, and why they might become your next inky little companion.
What is a Wyvern?
A wyvern is a small creature, but only when compared to a dragon.
These creatures are still big enough to be very beastly!
They are winged creatures with two feet.
This is the main difference between a wyvern and a dragon, aside from size.
A dragon stands on 4 legs, so it may be time for you to examine your favourite dragons and see if they’re actually wyverns!
Wyverns are described as reptilian with razor shaped claws.
They have long, scorpion-like tails.
Some legends say that wyverns have fire breathing abilities, but this is rare.
Fire breathing is more closely associated with dragons, and in older legends the two creatures are not as closely associated as they are now.
Some modern fantasy stories about wyverns will equip the creatures with green poisonous breath or even ice breath.
A wyvern can be an exciting tool in a fantasy story.
Because of the wyverns smaller size, in some ways they can cause more destruction than a dragon because their movements are swift.
You may see a wyvern depicted as having feather like designs on its wings and body.
Most commonly, however, wyverns have bat-like wings with scaly bodies.
Some wyverns are portrayed with sharp spikes down their backs.
In any case, these creatures do not look friendly.
They are typically seen with their mouths open, and you can almost hear the terrible, earth shaking shriek from their mouths.
You may also notice that the wyvern has a forked tongue, which is quite lengthy.
Because of its long tail, forked tongue, and neck with only two legs to stand on, the wyvern has an overall serpent-like appearance.
Wyvern Origin Stories
There is no record of the first wyvern, or where the imagery originally came from.
The first wyverns scholars and historians are aware of were already widespread in the medieval period, roughly the 5th century.
Wyverns are most closely associated with heraldry.
This is kind of an umbrella term, but the most well known sub sect of heraldry is armory.
This directly refers to a coat of arms, or the designs on battlefield tools such as shields and crests.
These would tell a lot about the person underneath the armor.
Where they are from, what rank they are in, and who they’re fighting for.
At one point, wyverns appeared on war banners.
Wales was represented by a red wyvern, with Essex sporting a gold wyvern.
Because of the wyvern’s fierce, intimidating appearance, it’s no surprise that someone would want to ride into battle with one by their side.
Wyverns were a popular design when it came to these emblematic items.
They continue to be popular in the UK, America, and Canada as mascots for school crests and the like.
What do Wyvern Tattoo Symbolize?
Though wyvern tattoo designs are popular, there is no one official meaning associated with wyverns.
Because of their use in war and battle related materials, they are known to some as symbols of courage and strength.
Others may see the wyvern as a symbol of protection.
In contrast to these noble qualities, the wyvern can be associated with vengeance and the concept of “slaying one’s dragons.”
Ultimately, a wyvern tattoo is what you make of it.
You may choose complementary symbols or a design that clarifies the wyvern’s meaning to you.
Wyverns in Pop Culture
Now that you’ve learned the difference between wyverns and dragons, you will notice wyverns in so many of your favorite video games, movies, and cartoons.
You may want to draw inspiration from some of your scaly friends for your wyvern tattoo.
Wyverns can be spotted in Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, and even the dragons on Game of Thrones are technically wyverns- which has actually caused quite a stir among some fantasy fans on reddit.
Wyvern Tattoo Ideas
A wyvern tattoo is a popular design that is highly customizable.
If you feel like you need a little extra protection or want to celebrate a courageous accomplishment, a wyvern is the perfect choice.
Check out our gallery of wyvern tattoos for some inspiration!