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The Komodo Dragon is a giant and fearsome lizard. Its scientific name is Varanus komodoensis.
How big can they get?
The Komodo Dragon is the largest species of lizard in the world. It can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh up to 300 pounds.
The Komodo Dragon is covered with a scaly skin that is a speckled brownish yellow allowing it to be camouflaged and hard to see when sitting still. It has short, stubby legs and a giant tail that is as long as its body. It has a set of 60 sharp serrated teeth and a long yellow forked tongue.
Where do Komodo Dragons live?
These giant lizards live on four islands that are part of the country of Indonesia. They live in hot and dry places such as grassland or savannah. At night they live in burrows they have dug in order to preserve heat.
What do they eat?
Komodo dragons are carnivores and, therefore, hunt and eat other animals. Their favorite meal is deer, but they will eat most any animal they can catch including pigs and sometimes water buffalo.
When hunting, they lie still and wait for prey to approach. Then they ambush the prey using a fast sprint of over 12 miles per hour. Once they have caught their prey they have sharp claws and teeth to bring it down quickly. They eat their prey in large chunks and even swallow some animals whole.
The Komodo dragon also has deadly bacteria in its saliva. Once bitten, an animal will soon get sick and die. The Komodo will sometimes follow escaped prey until it collapses, even though it may take a day or so.
Are they endangered?
Yes. They are currently listed as vulnerable. This is due to hunting by humans, natural disasters, and a lack of females laying eggs. They are protected under Indonesian law and there is the Komodo National Park where their habitat is being preserved.
Fun Facts about Komodo Dragons
- It can eat up to 80 percent of its body weight in one meal.
- Young Komodo dragons must run and climb trees as fast as they can when they hatch so they won't get eaten by the adults.
- It is a type of monitor lizard.
- They are at the top of the food chain on the islands where they live.
- Humans didn't know that the Komodo existed until about 100 years ago. Imagine the surprise of the person that first spotted one?
- They can be seen at over 30 North American Zoos.
For more about reptiles and amphibians:
Alligators and Crocodiles
Eastern Diamondback Rattler
Colorado River Toad
Gold Poison Dart Frog
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