The Zora are a recurring race in the Legend of Zelda series. Zoras are aquatic, blue-skinned humanoid creatures that exist in Hyrule, Labrynna and Termina. They are incredibly skilled natural swimmers. The appearance of Zoras can vary greatly; some are large and round, like King Zora XVI, while others are slender and small, such as Prince Ralis.
Zoras are divided into two known major subspecies: the River Zoras, and the Sea Zoras. River Zoras are known as the hostile enemy race that pop out of the water and fire energy balls at Link; whereas the peaceful Zoras, loyal to the kingdom of Hyrule, are the Sea Zoras. The two differ physically. Despite their names, both types of Zora are known to inhabit both the ocean/sea and bodies of fresh water.
While still visibly humanoid in some cases, the Zoras resemble various marine creatures in their body structure. Most of them wear no clothes, but certain members of their species do wear clothing, or, as shown by the Zora guards in Twilight Princess, a helmet that completely encases their head. They are generally covered in silver scales, which give them a pale blue sheen from a distance, and they have dark blue spots on their extremities. Where humans sometimes have long hair, average Zoras have rear-hanging caudal extensions of their heads shaped like the tails of dolphins, perhaps as a cephalic form of dorsal fin. These tails undulate periodically, which gives a Zora's head the unique semblance of a fish. Zoras have two large ulnar fins located distally on their forearms, and some have smaller fins at their ankles. They are sometimes depicted as having webbed feet and hands. They lack ears in the traditional sense, but do have pronounced noses. It appears that all Zoras have green eyes, which may indicate a trait associated with the species.
The gender of common Zoras is not well defined, as their physical appearance is not wholly conclusive on the matter. Princess Ruto and Lulu were notably female, having distinctly rounder, or feminine body features and the fact that Lulu laid eggs. In these earlier games, it was very easy to pick out female Zoras due to three main physical features:
- Visible pointed ears.
- Figure and curves characteristic of women.
- Wide heads, similar to those of Hammerhead Sharks, with extra eyes on the sides.
Queen Rutela was also female. Her appearance is different from that of Princess Ruto as she lacks Princess Ruto's wide head and extra eyes. Her head and face are much more humanoid (her overall appearance seems to be based off that of mermaids), and she has what appear to be coral-like growths which give her the impression of having hair. She seems to have a distinct red coloration/aura. It is also worth noting that many of the Zoras encountered in Hyrule can be seen within a body of water, and their bodies emanate colorful glow, possibly a form of bioluminescence, that the Zoras on land do not show.
Zoras lay eggs to reproduce. Zora eggs need to be kept in cold, clean water in order to develop healthily, and every egg from the same clutch must be kept together in order for them to hatch. Newborn Zoras are tadpole-like with a circular body and a long, skinny tail ending in a fluke.
There is a limit to the amount of time a Zora can safely spend away from the water without risking serious harm. The Zoras outside Lake Hylia when it is drained also seem worried about the lake eventually drying up, another hint at the Zoras' waterbound condition.
Zora government is monarchical, as illustrated by King Zora, the sole ruler of the Zoras. River Zoras are also shown having a monarchical system.