Komodo dragons may appear to be mythological animals, but they are actually huge reptiles. They are found on four Indonesian islands: Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang. Although these animals are quite ancient (they have existed for millions of years), they were found only 100 years ago, when a plane made an unexpected landing on the island. Komodo dragons are named for the island on which they live – Komodo Island. They are classified as “vulnerable” because to the fact that human activities and natural calamities have drastically diminished their numbers during the last century.
Komodo Dragon Facts
1. The Komodo dragon is the world’s largest lizard. They can grow to be up to ten feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds.
2. They are carnivores (meat eaters) who enjoy consuming pigs, fish, snakes, deer, and water buffaloes. Adult Komodo dragons are cannibals (they devour other species), and 10% of their diet consists of freshly hatched Komodo dragons.
3. They can consume prey weighing up to 80% of their own body weight. In contrast to other animals, they will consume bones and hooves.
4. Adult dragons have skin that is gray, reddish, or brownish in color. Young animals have a green body that is striped with black and yellow.
5. The tongue of the Komodo dragon is forked (like snakes). It utilizes its tongue to smell for prey. Their keen tongues enable them to locate prey up to four kilometers away.
6. They typically hunt during the daytime because they have poor night vision. Apart from that, Komodo has a terrible hearing ability.
7. Komodo dragons have a crimson saliva that contains more than 50 different microorganisms. Only one bite causes its prey to become blood poisoned.
8. Recent investigations revealed that saliva contains venom, which likely contributes to the bite’s lethal effect.
9. Komodo dragons frequently engage in combat with other dragons. They bite one other during combat, but unlike the prey, they are immune to bacteria contained in their saliva.
10. Because they are cold-blooded, they spend a lot of time in the sun to stay warm. They would hide in their burrows during the rainy season to avoid heat loss.
11. The Komodo dragon is an excellent swimmer. They can swim between islands.
12. The Komodo dragon has a top speed of 13 miles per hour.
13. Female deposits 15-30 eggs in the pit during reproductive season. Their eggs resemble water-filled balloons. Baby lizards split the shell from the inside with their “egg tooth.” They will spend their entire lives in trees, as adult Komodo dragons are incapable of climbing (and eat them).
14. Female Komodo dragons can produce eggs even when they are alone. This is referred to as asexual reproduction.
15. They have a life expectancy of about 30 years in the wild, but only a few years in captivity.