Komodo Dragon

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is a lizard species that is found on the islands (particularly the Komodo Island) in central Indonesia. The komodo dragon is a member of the monitor lizard family and is the largest living species of lizard. Because of their size and because there are no other carnivorous animals, these apex predators dominate the ecosystem in which they live.

Komodo Dragon Description

Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragons grow to an average length of 2 – 3 metres (6.5 – 10 feet) and weigh around 70 kilograms (154 pounds). Captive komodo dragons may often weigh more, as much as 166 kilograms (365 pounds). Komodo dragons are the heaviest lizards on Earth. They have long, flat heads with rounded snouts, scaly skin, bowed legs and huge, muscular tails. They have about 60 frequently replaced serrated teeth that can measure up to 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) in length. Their saliva is frequently tinged with blood, because their teeth are almost completely covered by gingival tissue that is naturally lacerated during feeding. They also has a long, yellow, deeply-forked tongues. Their tongue is used to detect taste and smell as in many other reptiles and they can detect carrion from 4 – 9.5 kilometres (2.5 – 6 miles) away.

Komodo Dragons have visible ears although they do not have acute sense of hearing. They are able to see as far as 300 metres (985 feet), however, they have poor night vision. The Komodo Dragon is also able to see in colour.

The komodo dragons nostrils are not very good for smelling and it only has a few taste buds at the back of its throat. Their scales, some of which are reinforced with bone, have sensory plaques connected to nerves that facilitate their sense of touch. The scales around the ears, lips, chin and soles of the feet may have three or more sensory plaques.

Komodo Dragon Habitat

The Komodo dragon prefers hot and dry places and typically lives in dry open grassland, savanna, scrubland and tropical forests at low elevations. Komodo dragons dig holes that can measure from 1 – 3 metres (3 – 10 feet) wide using their powerful forelimbs and claws.

Komodo Dragon Diet

Komodo Dragons are carnivores and mainly feed up on carrion (dead animal carcasses). They also hunt and ambush prey such as invertebrates, mammals and birds. To catch prey that is out of reach, komodo dragons are able to stand on their hind legs and use their tails as support. They have also been known to use their tails to knock down large deer and pigs.

Komodo dragons eat by tearing large chunks of flesh and swallowing them whole while holding the carcass down with their forelegs. Because of their slow metabolism, large dragons can survive on as little as 12 meals a year. Because the Komodo dragon does not have a diaphragm, it cannot suck water when drinking, nor can it lap water with its tongue. Instead, it drinks by taking a mouthful of water, lifting its head, and letting the water run down its throat. A komodo dragon can eat a whopping 80 percent of its body weight in a single feeding.

Komodo Dragon Behaviour

Komodo Dragons are mostly active during the day but have shown some nocturnal behaviour. They are solitary animals that only come together to breed and eat. They are quite fast creatures and can move rapidly in brief sprints up to 20 kilometres per hour (12.4 miles per hour). Young komodo dragons can climb trees easily with the use of their strong claws.

Because of their large size, Komodo Dragons are able to conserve body heat by sleeping in their burrows reducing their need to bask in the mornings. They typically hunt in the afternoons and stay in shaded areas during the hottest parts of the day.

Although not strictly venomous, the bite of a Komodo Dragon is not just dangerous for the physical damage the Komodo is capable of causing, it is also heavily dosed with dangerous bacteria. If a victim is lucky enough to escape being eaten, because of the bacteria, it is likely to die eventually. A komodo dragon will follow its escapee until this happens (usually within a week), and then consume it.

Komodo Dragon Reproduction

The Komodo Dragon breeding season occurs between May and August. Around 20 eggs are laid in September which are deposited in abandoned megapode nests (Megapode – stocky, medium-large chicken-like birds with small heads and large feet). Eggs are incubated for 7 – 8 months, hatching in April the following year when insects are abundant. The young dwell in trees for safety as they are very vulnerable to predators and cannibalistic adult dragons.

Komodo Dragons mature in about 3 – 5 years. Komodo Dragons are capable of parthenogenesis (par-the-no-gen-e-sis), a form of reproduction in which an unfertilised egg develops into a new individual, occurring commonly among insects and certain other arthropods. Young Komodos will eat insects, eggs, geckos and small mammals. Komodo dragons may be monogamous and form pair bonds, a rare behaviour for lizards. The life span of the komodo dragon is over 30 years.

Komodo Dragon Conservation Status

The Komodo Dragon is classed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN. Komodo Dragons are protected under Indonesian law, and a national park, Komodo National Park, was founded to aid protection efforts. In the wild their range has contracted due to human activities. The largest risk to the survival of the Komodo Dragon is encroachment by humans, destruction of environment and poaching of prey such as the Sunda deer. There are approximately 4,000 – 5,000 living Komodo dragons in the wild. Although attacks are very rare, Komodo dragons have been known to kill humans.

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Did You Know?

Komodo Island is NEW 7 wonders of the world. Komodo dragons were discovered by Western scientists in 1910. Their large size and fearsome reputation makes them popular zoo exhibits.

Small (young) Komodo Dragons are accomplished tree climbers.

Komodo Dragons are cannibals, eating their young and occasionally their eggs.

The Dragons teeth are large, curved and serrated and arranged so that the maximum amount of flesh can be bitten off and swallowed whole.

The saliva of a Komodo Dragon contains over 50 types of bacteria, 7 of them highly septic.

Under severe environmental conditions, Komodo Dragons have been know to swim between islands.

Young Komodo Dragons may roll themselves in entrails and faeces to prevent being eaten by mature Komodo Dragons.

Komodo Island is the NEW 7 wonders of the world

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Finalists The New 7 Wonders of the world

Komodo Island is the new 7 wonders of the world

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Monitor of Komodo

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Habitat of Komodo dragon

Komodo island is the new 7 wonders of the world. The following habitats are found across the Komodo dragon distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Tropical dry forest
Tropical dry forests, in contrast to rainforest, have to survive a long dry season each year, so the predominantly deciduous trees shed their leaves to cope with it. Sunlight can then reach the ground, so the season that’s bad for the trees is good for the forest floor.
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Komodo dragon

Komodo island is the NEW 7 wonders of the world. Komodo dragons are huge, heavily-built monitor lizards – the largest lizards in the world. The largest accurately recorded specimen was 3.1m long and weighed 166kg. Komodos use deadly saliva containing toxic bacteria as part of their armoury. The bacteria multiply rapidly in a bite wound and lead to blood poisoning and gangrene in the victim. This energy efficient predation keeps the Komodo dragons at the top of the predator tree in their island home.

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Komodo Dragon Information

Feeding Habits Of the Komodo Dragon

Well here is where the terror of this creature really lies. Komodo dragons are of course carnivorous, but little know that they are also cannibalistic. They typically eat large prey such as deer, wild boar, goat; they will basically eat anything they can overpower and this includes smaller lizards (including other Komodo Dragons). As is evident, the Komodo Dragon has a wide range possibility of prey. Evidence from droppings however, show that a few types of prey serve as the main food choice of these lizards. From the droppings, humans are able to observe that the deer is the meal of choice. Boars are also a popular choice. Dragons acquire these animals by two ways: hunting, and finding carcasses.

Mysterious: A tale of the dragons

What may sound shocking is true, there is relatively little known about these dragons. Now, while it may be easy to believe that there are countless of unknown species of beetles in the world, it is relatively difficult to believe that an animal so large as the Komodo Dragon went undetected.

Six Senses of a Komodo Dragon

Touch : dragons come covered in body amour. These bumps are called scales. With a skin made of these scales, it is difficult to feel anything. This is why dragons have special spots that are sensitive to touch. These spots are connected directly to nerves. These plagues are on every scale. The scales around the ears, the lips, chin, and the bottom of the feet have at least 3 or more plaques.

Young Dragons

From the moment a Komodo Dragon is born, it is left to fend for itself. At this time, the dragon is only about 8 to 22 inches long. The young dragons look very different from adult dragons and that is not just because of their size. The four ounce dragon pup is brightly colored. It is a greenish black and white with yellow specks. It also has small reddish circles around its body and alternating dark and light bands round its tail. These designs help to conceal the dragon in the shade of the trees, where it will hide for its first year or two of life.

When Komodo Dragons attack!

Dragons are (obviously) dangerous animals with a force to be reckoned with. Despite their benign appearance, they are powerful and deadly creatures. If anyone has ever seen these creatures take down prey, or feast on prey for that mater, they know that they should not be toyed with.

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