Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)


Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family:    Varanidae
Size:    Length: Up to 10 feet (3 m)
Weight: 220 to 300 pounds (100 to 136 kg)
Diet: All kinds of large and small animals as well as carrion
Distribution: Indonesia
Young:  15 to 30 eggs
Animal Predators:  Full-grown Komodo dragons have no predators other than larger Komodo dragons
IUCN Status: Vulnerable
Terms: None
Lifespan: 50 to 100 years



·       They are also known as Komodo Island monitors, and are called Ora by residents on the island of Komodo.

·       Scientists confirmed the existence of these lizards in 1912.

·       Komodo dragons are the number one predators on the islands they inhabit.

·       Male Komodo dragons outnumber the females by more than four to one.

·       In the mid-1900s, the Dutch in Indonesia recognized Komodos as valuable ecological predators and set up laws protecting them.



Komodo dragons are the world’s largest known living lizards. They have a powerful tail that can knock over a victim, and that is also used to propel them through the water while swimming. Their forked tongue frequently darts in and out, testing for scents. They have a keen sense of smell and can locate food up to seven miles (12 k) away.



Komodo dragons live in semi-arid regions on the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rintja, Padar and Flores. They are a popular tourist attraction, annually drawing up to 18,000 visitors to the area.


Feeding Habits

Komodo dragons are meat-eaters, and will first scavenge carrion before killing for food. They are skilled hunters, eating anything from rats to wild pigs to deer. They are also known to eat other Komodos, especially juveniles, and have killed and eaten humans. They can eat up to 80 percent of their body weight at one sitting. Komodos have a large amount of bacteria in their saliva, which helps to kill the victim as it enters the blood through the bite wounds. Even prey that escapes their grip often dies later anyway, from the bacteria in their blood. 



Mating season occurs between June and July. In September, the female lays 15 to 30 oval, white-coloured eggs, usually in a composting vegetable mound and then covers them with earth. The eggs are left to incubate in the warmth of the sun and they hatch the following May. The young are eight to 18 inches long and are very susceptible to being preyed on by snakes, birds and even other Komodo dragons. They live in trees for the first few months of their lives, until they reach a length of about three feet (91 cm). They do not begin to reproduce until the age of five to seven when they reach six feet (1.8 m) in length. Full size is reached at approximately 15 years. 



Komodo dragons are able to run at speeds of up to 11 miles (20 k) per hour, but tire quickly. Instead, Komodo dragons stalk and sneak up on a victim, lunging at it with amazing speed. They grab the prey in their strong jaws, sinking their serrated teeth into it. At a successful kill, other Komodos will join in for the feast, with the largest Komodos getting first choice. Very little is left behind afterwards.



Komodo dragons are threatened by loss of habitat and their population is estimated at approximately 5,000, but only 350 of those are breeding females. 










Komodo Dragon Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US