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The Komodo Dragon
The Komodo Dragon
Easily one of the most dangerous critters on the entire planet Earth, the Komodo dragon is a true dragon, but rather a bit smaller than the ones in the legends and allegorical genius of J.R.R. Tolkien. The stuff of nightmares, the Komodo Dragon is all too real, and is the world's largest lizard. Please note that it is not the world's largest reptile, as that honour goes to the even more frightening salt water crocodile, which is not technically a lizard at all.
I'd always assumed that the Komodo dragons were only found on the island of Komodo, but this is incorrect, and I should stop placing my expectations and parameters on such a large and dangerous lizard, the Komodo dragon never cared what I thought anyway, and can be found on the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar in Indonesia.
The Komodo dragon often reaches sizes in which they weigh in at or over one hundred and fifty pounds, please be certain that you recognize that the thing can and will eat you, but likely part of your remains will get shared with his or her friends. Should you get bitten by a Komodo dragon and get away from one, then you must recognize that you are being foolish - you should have offered your soon to be corpse to the dragons, as you will certainly be dying in short order just the same. There are so many horrific bacteria living in the mouth of the Komodo dragon that nobody survives it's bite, it doesn't breath fire, and yet it does.
The Komodo Dragon
The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis)
While there are various and sundry evolutionary biological stratagems put forth to explain why the Komodo dragon is so much larger than other monitor lizard species, all of them basically come down to just about the nothing that half of evolutionary biological notions always come down to - pure speculation. The facts are that the same exact lizard can be observed in remains dating at and beyond three point eight million years ago. If you consider the massive amount of faunal turnovers, the arrival of hominids, and the myriad other environmental changes in the ecosystems of the Komodo dragons during that time period, you can then deduce that they do not seem to have evolved at all. Why should the Komodo dragons evolve during times of great change over the course of millions of years? Oh, probably because they figured they were perfect to begin with, and that they just don't much care for evolutionary biologist.
In the world of lizards, there is nothing quite like the Komodo dragon in many ways, and size is only one of the traits that set them apart. Perhaps the Komodo dragons evolved into such monsters (or not) simply because they were such great team players, and still are today. Most lizards don't work with their fellows to ambush prey for dinner, but the Komodo dragons do, and they eat mostly deer when fresh meat is the order of the day. The largest staple of the dragon's diet, however, are dead things - carrion, things that have already died whether the death was a result of the dragon's "breath," or not.
The Nile Monitor Lizard - A Close Relative Of The Komodo Dragon
The Nile Monitor Lizard
Getting as long as nine feet in length, the Nile monitor lizard is a flesh eating mini Komodo dragon, and though they should have never been here, they are - Southern Florida is now rather stocked with very large cousins of the Komodo dragon that just don't want to be messed with. Though the Nile monitor lizard is universally regarded as a poor and even dangerous pet, I'll bet you can figure out exactly how these large lizards came to be living in Southern Florida - you've got it, some moron decided it was more important for them to make a dollar selling invasive species to fools than it was to care about ecosystems.
In Which A German Birdwatcher Was Eaten By Komodo Dragons
Outstanding Article Concerning Komodo Dragons!
- Chasing the Magic Dragon - National Wildlife Federation
Researchers risk life and limb to solve the puzzle of the Komodo dragon’s immunity to its own deadly bacteria.
How Big Is The Komodo Dragon?
Most often, and as stated above, the Komodo dragons weigh in at around one hundred and fifty pounds - but they do sometimes get much larger than that, and especially in captivity where they don't have to hunt for food, and get fed very regularly. The largest Komodo dragon on record weighed three hundred and seventy pounds and was over ten feet long in length.
The tails of Komodo dragons are as long as is their body, and is also a very effective and dangerous weapon in the exact same was as is the tail of an alligator or crocodile. The teeth of the dragon are what are truly vicious, they are serrated like a good work knife, are often replaced if broken, and can be an inch in length. Komodo dragon saliva is often bloody, and this is because there is an oral tissue that covers it's teeth, but naturally, is often broken - quite an ideal place for all manner of horrific bacteria to live! The beast's forked tongue is long and yellow
The Hideous Mouth Of The Komodo Dragon!
The Mystery Of The Komodo Dragon's Immunity
What is easily understood is how deadly the plethora of bacteria within the mouth of the Komodo dragon is deadly to humans and practically anything else bitten by one. What isn't understood is how the same bacteria isn't deadly to the Komodo dragons themselves.
Only the Indonesian islanders even knew this species of monitor lizard existed prior to 1912, the year that Peter Owens, a Dutch zoo director discovered for the Western world this unique species, and proceeded to have specimens captured and shipped to zoos all over the world. What was quickly noticed when studies began in earnest was that the monster lizards of Komodo were vastly more intelligent than they seemed, they instinctively seem to know things about deer, and how to ambush them, that other species of lizard have no comparable knowledge to in regards to their respective prey. No doubt about it, discovering just what gives the Komodo dragons immunity to the bacteria living in their mouths will lead us to some exciting progress in the world of antibiotics!
The dragons also know that they need not kill an animal by overpowering it, all they have to do is bite something once, then follow the trail of blood, they have no venom, they have bacteria.
The Komodo Dragon - Look At That Tongue!
Komodo Dragon Senses
Though Komodo dragons have ear holes, their hearing is very poor. Komodo dragon eyesight, however, is quite good, but only during the daylight. Like with snakes, and other lizards, the Komodo dragon uses it's long and forked tongue to detect a wide range of environmental stimuli, and then it processes that information towards the betterment of it's life. With the tongue, the Komodo dragon can at times under the right circumstances detect rotting flesh as far as six miles away. Why hunt for live prey when there is something dead just waiting to be eaten? The dead don't mind, not any more, and a dragon has to do what a dragon has to do - eat.
Petting the Komodo Dragon
Komodo dragon mating
Between May and August, the warm-blooded dragons mate, eggs are laid in September, and then the male dragons all fight over the sexy dragon ladies. Female dragons, however, tolerate quite a lot from the men. The men will defecate and vomit in preparation for a fight, but then again we are talking dragons here, maybe that sort of behaviour makes the lady Komodo dragons a bit hot.
Following a victorious fight, the winning male flicks his tongue at his love interest in the same manner as does Gene Simmons of KISS, perhaps that is where Gene learned to score. No data available on that.
All male Komodo dragons would be convicted of rape were our legislators to know about the courtship - they must fight the females physically, and totally subdue them in order to get their jollies, and for the survival of their species. No chance here of this article being deemed a bit lewd by Google, the male parts for reproduction, the hemipenes is inserted into the female orifice, the cloaca - if you haven't learned something here, then you're just more into lizards than most. Despite the female's resistance, and the male's fighting, the Komodo dragon, peculiar lizard that it is, is often a monogamous creature.
The female digs a hole and lays her eggs in the sand, and seven or eight months later, defenceless baby dragons are born. Many of them are eaten by predators, including, of course, other Komodo dragons. The baby dragons will quickly learn to climb trees, where they can find bugs for food, and remain safe, by and large, from the cannibalism of adult dragons.
It takes three to five years for a baby dragon to become an adult, and becoming an accepted and respectable member of the dragon society can be pretty tough. What is certain is that the adult dragons had to fight and be smart to make it. The Komodo dragons can live nice long lives, however, and ages of thirty to fifty years have been reached.
Baby Komodo Dragons
Komodo dragon conservation
There are only between four and five thousand Komodo dragons in the wild, and so the species is most certainly in danger. Luckily, the Dutch government has made hunting the dragons illegal, and has also moved to strictly limit the number of dragons taken for zoos and scientific studies. These lizards are actually very shy, and truly seek to avoid contact with humans, and could you possibly blame them?
Adult dragons, literally, will retreat from the presence of humans, but a cornered dragon, my friends - need I say more? We've already discussed how deadly the bite of the Komodo dragon is. You literally have to be a fool to provoke one, but were you injured in their domain, well, lets call you "lunch!" There are no reputable instances of a Komodo dragon attacking a human being. Defensive bites, however, are typically fatal, and well deserved. So while the foolishness of humans culls the herd always, let us not cull the dragons from our global ecosystem. They've lots to teach us, and we are so forever blindingly ignorant.
The Komodo dragon, it's really a fabulous lizard
© 2012 Wesman Todd Shaw