Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragon…

Komodo Dragon
Frontal Portrait of a Komodo Dragon by Arturo de Frias Marques cc4.0

The Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard in the world, reaching a maximum length of 3 meters. It can be found in Indonesia and prefers to inhabit hot and dry places. It is a large and powerful creature, and has a long muscular tail and strong claws. It is an apex predator, meaning other animals do not prey on it.

Diet

Komodo Dragon Eating Rinca
Young Komodo Dragon feeding at a water buffalo corpse on Rinca. By Mats Stafseng Einarsen Multi-license with GFDL and CC-BY 2.5

The Komodo dragon lives a solitary life and also hunts alone. It is a carnivore and it eats anything that is available. This lizard can kill prey as large as deer or water buffalo. The muscles in its jaw and throat enable it to swallow large portions of meat with incredible speed and it has large, curved, serrated teeth that further assists in this task. In one feeding it consumes up to 80% of its own body weight in food.




Search for Prey

Varanus komodoensis
Photo taken by Matěj Baťha cc3.0

The dragon utilizes its long, forked tongue to smell, detect and taste. The tongue picks up scent particles from the outside and sends it to the sensory receptors (Jacobson’s organ) on the roof of its mouth. This way it can detect and also sense the direction of a prey. It can sense the presence and direction of carrion from a distance of 2.5 miles. The Komodo dragon ambushes its prey.

Komodo Dragon Venom

It is a venomous animal; the venom glands in its jaw secrete a range of toxins that lower the prey’s blood pressure and stop the blood from clotting. So even if the prey escapes, it will still die. The Komodo dragon also commits cannibalism. After digestion it regurgitates something known gastric pellet, which is a heap of horns, teeth and hair and is also covered in foul smelling mucus. After this it rubs its face on bushes or dirt to get rid of the mucus. Young dragons occasionally consume human corpses by digging up shallow graves.

Young Dragons

Parthkomodo
A baby Komodo dragon born by parthenogenesis, photographed at Chester Zoo. By Neıl cc3.0

Females provide parental care only until her eggs hatch. Adult dragons hunt baby dragons since they are an easy meal, hence, soon after hatching the babies climb up a tree for safety. Young dragons spend their first few years in trees, away from the threat of adults. They eat anything that fits in their mouth. Adults consume the intestines of the prey as well, but only after swinging them around vigorously so as to remove the feces from them. The young often roll in fecal matter so the adults are repulsed by them. This way they can be safe from the cannibalistic adults.

Komodo Dragons are featured in the following books:
25 Most Deadly Animals in the World
25 of the Most Poisonous Animals in the World!
25 Top Predators in the World Book
101 Facts… Lizards!


The YouTube video below contains a playlist of videos about the Komodo dragon. The list of videos featured is underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. Kills With One Bite by National Geographic – National Geographic discusses the largest reptile in the world and how it hunts its prey.
  2. World’s Weirdest : Toxic Dragon by NatGeoWild – The Komodo dragon is the world’s biggest lizard, but it boasts more than just muscle. Its saliva is loaded with venom and more than 50 strains of virulent bacteria — any animal it bites will likely die within days.
  3. Komodo Dragons by National Geographic – Watch hatchlings being born.
  4. Venom gland discovery – Natural World – Komodo Secrets of the Dragon – BBC Two – BBC Clip looking at the Komodo’s newly confirmed venom glands.
  5. Komodo dragons VS film crew: Chasing the Dragon Ep 1 by EarthTouch – Excellent info and action with the earth touch crew.
  6. Komodo dragon charges film crew: Chasing the Dragon Ep 2 by EarthTouch – Even more info and action with the earth touchers.
  7. Living with Komodo Dragons | Chasing the Dragon Ep3 by EarthTouch – Do you fancy sharing your village with the komodos?
  8. Komodo Dragon Eat a Goat by WongBusan – Footage showing the dragons not being very good at sharing.




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