Komodo Dragons – The Largest Living Lizard on Earth

Avatar

/ published 10 months ago

Komodo Dragons – The Largest Living Lizard on Earth

They weigh up to 150 pounds, with the largest verified specimen reaching 366 pounds. These dragons can kill even the largest prey with a single bite thanks to their deadly venom

Some people call komodo dragons land crocodiles. They are the largest living lizard on earth. Komodo dragons are carnivores, living mostly in Indonesia. There have been a few encounters with humans, but they do not attack humans per se.

They weigh up to 150 pounds, with the largest verified specimen reaching 366 pounds. These dragons can kill even the largest prey with a single bite thanks to their deadly venom. Here are some facts about the largest lizard on Earth.

Unique hunting method

Let’s start with their unique hunting method. They hunt in packs, but their method is to charge their prey and attack the underside or throat with sharp claws and serrated teeth. The attack causes rapid blood loss or fatal lacerations. This might come as a surprise, but komodo dragons are extremely fast. They can run as fast as 20kmh.

Their initial charge doesn’t always finish the job. But it does leave the prey wounded. After that, the dragon proceeds to tear flesh off its grounded victim and eat them alive. There is also another theory that their teeth contain venom that makes matters worse for the prey.


They eat almost anything they can find, including carrion, deer, pigs, smaller dragons, and sometimes, large water buffalo. During hunting, the dragon relies on camouflage and patience, lying and waiting for the passing prey.

Huge appetite

According to some research, komodo dragons can eat 80% of their weight in a single meal. Their appetite matches their size.

They get a huge feast, but they have a slow digestion system. After eating, komodo dragons go in the sun, with the heat supporting their digestion process. After they digest the meal, the dragons regurgitate “gastric pellet”. It contains horns, hair, teeth, and other pits of prey that they cannot digest.

Because their digestion system is fairly slow, komodo dragons can survive on one meal per month.

Komodo Dragon’s Impressive Armor

Their armor is built of thousands of tiny bones under the skin. So, what do they need protection from? And the answer is simple, another komodo dragons.

Komodo dragons are not born with their impressive armor. They develop it over time. The growth process helps them find protection against other bigger komodo dragons.

Reproduction

Komodo dragons reproduce once per year. When they are ready to mate, females give off a scent in their feces for males to follow. And when the male locates the female, he scratches her back and licks her body. If she licks him back, they mate.

Sometimes, males wrestle one another for mating rights. Pregnant komodo dragons lay about 30 eggs. They bury them in the earth until they hatch eight months later.


And if there are no male specimen around, a female Komodo dragon can reproduce without sex. They have both male and female sex chromosomes. They can reproduce asexually in a process many know as parthenogenesis.

This process occurs in more than 70 species around the world. In the late 2000s, scientists confirmed it for the first time in komodo dragons.

Danger of Extinction

Asexual reproduction allows female dragons to replenish their population. But it is a double-edged sword. While they can reproduce, the asexual reproduction yields only male children. And because of the death of other females within the population, the asexual reproduction leads to evidence of inbreeding among komodo dragons.

Humans also pose a threat to the survival of komodo dragons. They burn their habitat and poachers target the reptile. Tourists can disrupt the dragon’s mating process.

This is why Indonesia considered a temporary closure of Komodo Island. In 1980, the country established the Komodo National Park to protect the largest lizard and its habitat. The site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From Around the Web

Related Videos

Nature
venomous snakes
youtube icon
55:33

Venomous snakes are species of the suborder Serpentes that are capable of producing venom, which they use for killing prey, for defense, and to assist with digestion of their prey....

  • 132
  • 1 week ago
  • Not Rated
Nature
Wildlife Secret Animals
youtube icon
43:24

The vast ocean separates continents meanwhile it also boasts hundreds of small island. From sandy beaches to remote and untouched nature Scattered across all 7 seas and from the tr...

  • 159
  • 2 weeks ago
  • Not Rated
Nature
portia spider
youtube icon
04:00

Known for eating other spiders, Portia is a genus of the jumping spider that is able to leap up to 50 times her own body length. The genus of jumping spider feeds on other spiders....

  • 142
  • 2 weeks ago
  • Not Rated
Nature
quantum biology
youtube icon
01:35:37

Can the spooky world of quantum physics explain bird navigation, photosynthesis and even our delicate sense of smell? Clues are mounting that the rules governing the subatomic real...

  • 538
  • 1 month ago
  • Not Rated
Related Articles
Since 1548, the government has counted 68 historic eruptions. The last major one, in 1994, killed 66 people. The volcano...
  • 154
  • 2 weeks ago
The flower can grow up to 90cm in diameter, with the largest recorded at 105cm in diameter. And each flower can weigh up...
  • 491
  • 2 months ago
It remains the greatest and most famous discovery by David Livingstone. Today, the Victoria Falls are considered one of ...
  • 864
  • 5 months ago
Hexagons are some of the most common shapes in nature. And while animals cannot do math, we can. And thanks to math, we ...
  • 1,845
  • 5 months ago