Animal Fact File Kids Zone

Komodo Dragon

The Komodo dragon may not have wings or breathe fire, but it is the largest living species of lizard.

Name

Komodo dragons are named after Komodo Island, one of the islands that make up the country Indonesia. This is because of a big expedition to go study them went to the island in 1926. It was led by W. Douglass Burden who gave them their name. This expedition was actually one of the things that inspired King Kong.

They are sometimes also called Komodo Monitors, as a monitor is a large lizard.

Features and Behaviours

Komodo dragons are huge, they can grow up to 3 metres long and weigh up to 70 kilograms.

They can lay 20 eggs in one go into their nesting hole, or they move into abandoned nests. The eggs take 7 or 8 months to hatch, and they have to be disguised to stop them from being eaten. Young Komodo dragons spend most of their time in the trees, as it is much safer there.

The skin of Komodo dragons is covered in scales, they are very tough and even have tiny bones in. This means they are very well armoured in case they are attacked or fighting another dragon.

Their long, forked tongue is used for smell as well as taste. The dragons can also see for very long distances but have trouble telling the difference between everything that is staying still.

Food

Komodo dragons are so big and powerful they are at the top of the food chain where they live. They are carnivores, meaning they eat meat, but most of their food consists of animals that have been dead a little while.

They are great hunters and can knock down pigs with their tails! Scientists also recently discovered they have a mild venom that stops their prey’s wounds from healing.

Komodo dragons have sharp serrated teeth that help them eat meat, and their teeth can be replaced quite a bit. They will eat 80% of their body weight then they lie in the sun. This is because the meat may already be rotting and if it spends too long in the stomach the dragon will become ill.

Human Relations

Komodo dragons are categorised as vulnerable due to humans taking their territory and hunting them. Hunting them has been banned for a long time now, and they have their own national park to protect them.

However, illegal poaching still occurs, and they live in places prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity that disrupts their habitat.

Komodo dragons don’t attack humans often but will act in self-defence. They do not make good pets, as while they can be tamed, they are prone to aggression when they see someone unfamiliar.