Conservation status: VULNERABLE
Common name: Komodo Dragon
Scientific name: Varanus komodoensis
Diet: Invertebrates, Birds, and Mammals
Length: Male: 2.6 m (Adult), Female: 2.3 m (Adult)
Weight: Male: 79 – 91 kg (Adult), Female: 68 – 73 kg (Adult)
This largest living species of lizard that can grow up to a maximum of 3 meters is an iconic creature that represents the unique ecosystem of Indonesian islands. They can be found in Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, Padar, and Komodo island.
With their massive size, these creatures dominate the ecosystems in which they live. Mature Komodo dragons have no natural predators and hunt prey using their venomous bite; their venom comes from the two glands in the lower jaw which secrete several toxic proteins. (They don’t have dirty mouths full of bacteria as people once thought).
When hunting or ambushing prey, Komodo dragons also operate in groups to maximize efficiency, and it is reported that Komodo dragon group behavior in hunting is exceptional in the reptile world.
Unlike the mature Komodo dragons, however, young Komodo dragons are vulnerable. They dwell in trees to remain safe from predators and cannibalistic adults. They take 8 to 9 years to mature and are estimated to live up to 30 years.
In the wild, the Komodo dragon’s range has contracted due to human activities. Now, they are protected under Indonesian law, and a national park, the Komodo National Park, was founded to aid such protection efforts.
- “Varanus Komodoensis (Komodo Dragon, Komodo Monitor, Ora)”. Iucnredlist.Org, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22884/0.
- Ciofi, Claudio (2004). Varanus komodoensis. Varanoid Lizards of the World. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. pp. 197–204. ISBN 0-253-34366-6.
- Tim Halliday (Editor), Kraig Adler (Editor) (2002). Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Hove: Firefly Books Ltd. pp. 112, 113, 144, 147, 168, 169. ISBN 1-55297-613-0.