Komodo dragons or Komodo monitors are lizards found in Indonesia on the Komodo, Flores, Rinca, and Gili Motang Islands.
About 100 years ago, Komodo Dragons were discovered. However, they have existed for much longer. Some scientists think they’ve existed for millions of years.
These Komodo dragons are the heaviest lizards on the planet at 300 pounds and up to 10 feet in length. They’re big, flat, scaly, have a wide, pointed snout, and their tails are long and bowed.
Adult Komodo dragons eat snakes, fish, pigs, and water buffalo. Komodo dragons are cannibals who actually eat their own species occasionally.
Komodo Dragon Facts for Kids
- They are excellent swimmers and swim all the way to other islands.
- The Komodo dragon can reach speeds of up to 13 miles per hour.
- Their lifespan can reach up to 30 years in the wild.
- Being cold-blooded, they spend a lot of time in the sun to keep warm.
- A Komodo dragon often fights with another dragon.
- Their numbers have declined dramatically over the past century because of human activity and natural disasters.
- It gets its name from the island it lives on – Komodo Island.
- They are the largest species of lizards in the world.
How Big are Komodo Dragons?
Typically, male Komodo dragons are about 8 to 9 feet high and weigh about 200 pounds. A female can grow up to 6 feet.
They come in different colors, including blue, green, and gray, which helps them to blend into their surroundings.
They have hard, reinforced skin called osteoderms and large, muscular tails with long sharp claws and long flat heads.
Komodo dragons have good eyesight, able to see objects up to 1000 feet away. They are also extremely fast, able to run up to 13 mph, but they prefer to hunt by stealth, waiting hours in the shadows in order to catch their prey.
Food is detected mostly by smell
The Komodo dragon samples the air with its forked tongue. The tongue is then placed on the roof of the mouth, where special organs analyze airborne molecules.
It can tell if the prey is approaching from the left if the left tongue tip has a more concentrated “smell.”
What do Komodo Dragons eat?
A Komodo dragon is a carnivore, so it eats meat.
Their fierce hunting skills allow them to eat very large prey, things like deer, pigs, buffalo, and, unfortunately, even people.
It also eats smaller dragons.
The Komodo kills its prey in an unusual way. First, it jumps up with its massive feet and pushes its prey over. Then they shred their prey to death with their sharp, serrated teeth.
As Komodo’s saliva contains 50 strains of bacteria, if the prey escapes, it will die within 24 hours from blood poisoning.
Its keen sense of smell will help the Komodo dragon locate its prey and finish its meal.
Komodo dragons are huge, and they have an appetite to match.
They are the dominant predator on their island, eat almost anything they can find, including dead animals like pigs, deer, and water buffalo.
During a meal, these massive lizards can eat up to 80% of their own body weight in food.
After a large feast and slow digestion, in the heat of the sun, Komodo dragons will sit back and relax, aiding their digestive process.
When the Komodo dragon digests its meal, it regurgitates what is known as a gastric pellet.
It contains bits of food that can’t be digested, the same as an owl pellet.
They have a slow metabolic rate, which means they can live on less than one meal a month.
They Eat their own Babies
Adults have no inhibitions in terms of eating their own children and will not think twice about doing so.
The young Komodos hide in the trees until they can hunt for themselves.
Still, this isn’t always enough.
The young dragon rolls around in poop to put the adults off. Even the most ravenous dragons can’t eat juveniles who roll in poop.
Female Komodo Dragons Can Reproduce Without a Male
Female Komodo dragons reproduce in other ways when there isn’t a male around:
They can reproduce asexually because they have both sex chromosomes.
Female dragons lay eggs in abandoned burrows.
Komodo Dragons can Swim
In addition to having big bodies, long tails, and venom, they can also swim!
Komodo dragons have been spotted miles from shore, just swimming along.
It is possible for them to swim between the five islands without difficulty.
Although not endangered, the Komodo dragon is vulnerable. There are approximately 6,000 Komodos left in the wild.
They live in the Komodo National Park.
In comparison to other reptiles, the Komodo dragon only exists on five islands in Indonesia.
Females aren’t laying as many eggs, the habitat is being destroyed, and humans are poaching the creatures.
It has been reported that poachers have been taking the lizards out of the park illegally.
More Fun Facts about The Komodo
They’re a type of monitor lizard.
They have 60 sharp teeth in their mouths.
The Indonesian island of Komodo is one of the 17,508 islands that form the Republic of Indonesia.
How Many Babies do Komodo Dragons have?
A female Komodo dragon lays up to 30 eggs.
Newborns are greenish, with black and yellow bands. As they grow, they turn gray to reddish-brown.