The Komodo Dragon: The World's Largest Lizard
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The Komodo Dragon: The World's Largest Lizard

The Komodo dragon is the world's largest lizard living on the islands of Indonesia.

The Komodo dragon, scientifically known as Varanus komodoensis, or the Komodo monitor, is the largest lizard in the world, measuring up to 10 feet in body length and weighing around 136 kg. Though they have dwelt in the harsh near uninhabitable environment of the islands of Indonesia for millions of years, especially the island the Komodo dragon was named after, the island of Komodo, said magnificent creatures remained unknown to the Western world, only to be discovered by Lieutenant van Steyn van Hensbroe, a Dutch colonist, who even managed to kill one purported to be near six feet long.

komodo dragons

The Komodo dragon

The Komodo dragon is a carnivore, as its diet mainly consists of goats, deer, wild boars, other lizards that could be found on the island. Not only that, the Komodo dragon is known to scavenge for animal carcasses. The reptilian monstrosity is a voracious eater, in that it is capable of chomping down around eighty percent of its body weight. The elements of the dragon’s hunting tactics include both patience and camouflage against its natural surroundings, a complementary pair to facilitate a successful ambush upon an unwitting prey, during which the Komodo dragon disembowels the poor creature first before wolfing it down.

One of the most intriguing characteristics of the Komodo dragon is its bacteria-laden saliva, which ensures inevitability of an animal’s demise, one way or the other. Even if an animal does manage to elude the dragon’s jaws, the sense of security this is able to provide it will only be ephemeral, as the animal eventually succumbs to the deadly bacterial force of the Komodo dragon’s saliva before finally being put out of its misery from the resulting blood poisoning. The Komodo dragon does not see the need to rush off in pursuit of its fleeing prey; instead, it relies on its sense of smell to track it down while the salivary bacteria works its way throughout the unfortunate animal’s circulatory system.

The Komodo dragon’s mating ritual consists of the opposing males lifting themselves up to their hind feet with the help of their long tails and grappling with each other to the ground in order to impress the opposite sex. Female Komodo dragons lay their eggs, normally 20 to 40 in number in a burrow on the ground, which they use their sharp claws to dig out.

Komodo dragons wrestling with each other

Komodo dragons wrestling with each other

Out of said 20 to 40 Komodo dragon hatchlings, only a few manage to survive upon hatching as most are normally preyed by larger animals. Young Komodo dragons normally feed on insects and live most of their childhoods on trees.

Other points of interest concerning the Komodo dragon:

1. A Komodo dragon was clocked running intermittently at speeds of up to 11 kilometres per hour.

2. Due to destruction of habitat and inordinate bouts of poaching, the Komodo dragon is enlisted as an endangered species.

References:

1. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/komodo-dragon/

2. http://www.allsands.com/pets/smallanimals/komododragonli_rgx_gn.htm

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Comments (1)

some really great information here. I never new they could run that fast!

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