Komodo Dragon Facts - Animals of Asia

A Komodo dragon in Indonesia.
A Komodo dragon in Indonesia.

The Komodo dragon, also known as Komodo monitor, is a huge animal in the monitor lizard family Varanidae. Interestingly, the Komodo dragon will vomit food from its stomach in order to be light enough to escape from impending threats. They also place their strength upon stealth and power. The animals spend many hours in the same location waiting for the right moment to pounce on their prey.

4. Physical Description

In the wild, an adult Komodo dragon can weigh up to 70 kilograms. However, those in captivity often weigh more. The sizes of Komodo dragons vary with sex. According to Guinness World Records, an average male adult Komodo will weigh between 79 and 91 kg and can grow to a length of about 2.59 meters which is approximately 8.48 feet. On the other hand, an average female will weigh between 68 and 73 kg and measure 2.29 meters. The Komodo dragon has about 59 teeth which measure up to an inch and are replaced occasionally. Most parts of the teeth are covered by gingival tissue which is naturally lubricated when the dragon is feeding. The Komodo dragon also has a long tongue, which is yellow in color and deeply forked. The skin of the Komodo dragon is rough, durable, and has lots of scales that have tiny bones called osteoderms which act as a natural chin-mail. Komodo dragons have good vision and according to a report by the Smithsonian Zoo, they can see things which are as far away as 300 meters (985 feet). The animals are also very fast and can run up to 13 miles per hour.

3. Diet

Komodo Dragons are carnivores. Although they mostly feed on carrion, they will also hunt and kill a live prey by approaching it slowly. Once the prey is within range, the Komodo dragon will quickly dash and attack its upper side or neck. They eat by tearing large chunks of meat and swallowing them whole. Komodo Dragons eat invertebrates, reptiles, birds and their eggs, small mammals, horses, deer, goats, water buffaloes, and monkeys. Young Komodo dragons mostly eat insects, eggs, geckos, and small animals. Sometimes they even attack humans or dig up graves and eat the buried corpses. When drinking water, Komodo dragons pump the water into their mouths and lift their heads to allow it to flow down their throats.

2. Habitat and Range

Komodo dragons are found in the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar. This monitor lizard lives in the rain forest, the Savannah, and the deciduous monsoon forest. Generally, Komodo dragons prefer living in areas with temperatures as high as 35 degrees celsius. To survive in the harsh heat, Komodo dragons are known to have homes which keep them warm during the night but cool during hot days.

1. Behavior

During the day, Komodo dragons conserve heat by using burrows to keep themselves cool. In the early stages of a Komodo dragon's life, is is able to climb trees easily using its claws. However, as they mature, they begin to use their claws as weapons. Komodo dragons tend to be isolated animals and prefer to hunt and wander alone. Wild Komodo dragons have a life span of 30 years.


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