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Komodo Dragon: The Largest Lizard on Earth

Komodo Dragon: The Largest Lizard on Earth

Komodo Dragon

The Komodo Dragon also known as the Komodo monitor is the largest living lizard. It can be found in several Indonesian islands such as Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar. Even though they have existed for millions of years, their existence was noted only a century ago. Komodo dragons are endangered due to the fact that their habitat is limited. Although they have been hunted, both legally and illegally, their population has not been decimated. Moreover, the recent anti-poaching laws have helped protect the Komodo dragon.

Komodo dragons can reach up to 3 meters in length. They weigh about 136 kg, making them the heaviest lizards on Earth.  They have flat heads, scaly skin and long, muscular tales. Although they can reach a speed of up to 13 km/h, their hunting method is based on stealth on overpowering their prey. They are the dominant predators of the islands they inhabit. Komodo dragons can eat anything from carrion to boars, deer, pigs and even water buffaloes. They have been known to attack humans. Their saliva contains a toxin that will kill the prey in mostly a week if it manages to escape the dragon.

Komodo Monitor

The population of Komodo dragons is numbered at being between 3,000 and 5,000. Most females lay about 30 eggs. The hatchlings weigh less than 100 grams and are about 40 cm long. Not many reach maturity as they fall prey to predators, including fellow Komodo. If they manage to survive five years they reach 2 meters long and weigh about 25 kg. Their growth lasts about 30 years.

The Komodo dragon is the largest lizard on Earth. It has no natural predators and is able to overpower most animals on the island. Did you know that in order to escape the heat these dragons hide in burrows barely big enough to give them shelter?

( Source: national geographic and national zoo; Image source: wikipedia )

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Remi Koene
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