2nd Look Animals: Komodo Dragon
What a strange animal. A reptile by the name Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) is truly the only living Dragon on earth. Millions of years old, Komodos lived in the extremely challenging climate of Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands for millions of years. They were only discovered lately, about 100 years ago. And what a discovery! It is still surprising the world didn't know about these large lizards way before 100 years ago.
Average Lifespan in Wild: 30+ Years
Size: 10 feet
Weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
Speed: 11 Mph (18 kph) in short bursts
Protection status: Endangered
Heaviest lizards on Earth, they have features like long flat heads with rounded snouts, scaly skin, bowed thick legs, and huge powerful tails. Dominant predators on the islands they inhabit and eat almost any living creature. Mostly they eat carrion, deer, pigs, smaller dragons, and even water buffalo. Some people even add humans to that list! Hunting they depend on camouflage and sit and wait for pray to come. When the time to attack comes, the dragon springs using its powerful legs, accurately sharp claws, and serrated, shark-like teeth to eviscerate its prey. The reason why it’s so deadly is whatever it bites, even if fled to escape after the bite wouldn’t even live for 24 hours. See, Dragon saliva contains over 50 strands of bacteria causing the bitten prey to die of blood poisoning. Dragons don’t run after there pray, after bitten they slowly follow them for miles even tracking them with there keen sense of smell to locate the corpse. These guys aren’t light eaters in the least. These guys can take in 80 percent of its body weight in one sitting! If it weighed 150 lbs it could eat 120lbs at one feeding! It just goes to show you to never cross paths with a Komodo.
Komodo Dragons have a steady population of approximately 3,000 to 5,000. They are found mostly on the islands of Komodo, Gila Motang, Rinca, and Flores. A dearth of egg-laying females have less Komodos being born. This, with poaching, human encroachment, and natural disasters has sent the Komodo Dragon to endangered status!
Komodo Dragon Breeding ©National Geographic
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