We now think that the dragon idea may have been inspired by the giant Yangzi alligator, or earth dragon which lives in the lower Yangzi River and can grow to a length of nearly 2 meters 6 feet. The alligator is sensitive to changes in air pressure and appears to know when rain is coming.
Chinese children were told that when the Yellow Emperor died, he became a dragon and flew into Heaven. From then on, the yellow dragon with five claws on each foot became a symbol of imperial power. The Emperor’s throne was called the Dragon Throne and his robe the Dragon Robe. Only the Emperor was allowed to wear clothes embroidered with a yellow dragon. In ancient times, any person who dared to wear such robes without permission was suspected of treason and might even be executed.