Volcanic Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Gili Motang and Flores in Indonesia.
Carnivorous. Both carrion and live prey such as deer, water buffalo and wild pigs. They are also cannibalistic, as they eat smaller and younger Komodo dragons. They can eat up to 80% of their body weight in one meal!
Habitat: Τropical monsoon forests, palm savannah and grasslands.
Incubation period: 2.5 - 8 months, 1-30 eggs.
Social structure: solitary animals, coming together only to breed and eat.
Weight: max male 90kg, max female 70kg
Dimensions: Length: males 3m, females 2m
Estimated population in the wild: ~5.000
Lifespan: 50 years in the wild
Threats: habitat loss, decline of prey species and hunting and persecution, fires.
IUCN Status: Vulnerable
Did you know that:
- The Komodo dragon is the largest lizard in the world.
- Coupled with a powerful crushing bite, Komodo dragon saliva is toxic, containing both venom and over 40 different bacteria that cause septicemia and also affects the blood clotting ability of its prey.
- In order to protect themselves from larger Komodo dragons, the young ones roll themselves in fecal matter to repel them and also spend most of their first 2 years in trees.
- They can run as fast as 20km/h.
- Komodo dragons are solitary animals, coming together only to breed or eat.
- Natives’ houses are built on stilts in order to avoid attacks from the Komodo dragons.
- Dominant males fight for conquest of females. Despite their large size, when they fight they wrestle in upright postures. Using their tails for support, they grab each other with their forelegs as they attempt to throw the opponent to the ground.
- They are descendents of Gigantie magalania prisca, who lived in Australia during the Pleistocene period and reached 7m in length and over 600kg in weight.
- Even though its bite may be lethal to another animal, this is not the case when they bite each other.
- They are excellent swimmers, swimming from one island to another and can even dive to depths of 4.5m.
- The tail length is the same as its body length.
- They can see as far as 300m especially moving objects.
- The two forked yellow tongue is used to detect, taste, and smell their prey, using the reptiles’ sensory system, the Jacobson's organ. They can detect carrion from 10km away!
- Females can lay fertilized eggs without having any sexual relation with the male. This rare phenomenon is called parthenogenesis. The genetics of this process always results in male offspring. This ensures the existence of males in isolated habitats.
- A gular pouch under their chin fills with air to help them breath while hunting, as they cannot run and breathe at the same time.