Komodo Dragons (Varanus komodoensis) are the largest lizard in the world and can be up to 10 feet long. Also known as Komodo monitors, their Indonesian name is ora. They live on 4 southeastern Indonesian islands. Except for size, males and females look much the same. Both can be black, green, brown or gray, with patches of white or yellow-brown. Males can weigh 200 to 350 pounds. Females are only about 150 pounds and up to 7 ½ feet long.
Komodos eat small mammals, Sunda deer, pigs, water buffalo, wild horses, birds, snakes, fish, crabs, snails, eggs, and even younger Komodos. Scavengers, they will eat almost any type of carrion. Komodos use their good sense of smell to find dead animals.
Komodo Dragons live in arid grasslands, savannas, and monsoon forests, mostly in the lowlands.
About a month after mating, females dig a nest in the ground and lay 15 to 30 eggs. They cover the eggs with dirt and leaves to incubate them, but once they hatch the babies are on their own.
For the first 4 years of their lives baby Komodo spend much of their time in trees. This keeps them save from being eaten by adult dragons. When born, a baby dragon is about 12 to 15 inches long, and weighs less than 4 ounces. They mostly eat grasshoppers, beetles, and other insects, and small reptiles such as geckos.
Fun Komodo Dragon Facts
- Komodo can run at about 11 miles an hour, but don’t chase their prey. Instead they wait for it to come by, then lunge.
- The saliva of a dragon has bacteria that causes blood poisoning. So even if bitten prey gets away, it will die.
- Komodo dragons can live to be 50 years old.
- The tip of its tongue and the Jacobson’s Organ are a Komodo’s primary scent detectors.
- They are endangered by poaching and loss of habitat.
- Komodo dragons’ teeth are serrated.
Animal Diversity Web
Bagheera: In the Wild
San Diego Zoo