Name: Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis)
Status – Vulnerable (VU)
Length – Up to 2 metres
Weight – Up to 90 kilograms
Whilst it might be unable to breathe fire, this dragon does have a highly venomous bite. The largest lizard in the world, it can eat up to a staggering 80% of its own body weight in one go!
Where am I found?
What do I eat?
A powerful predator, the Komodo dragon has a voracious appetite. It feeds on both carrion and live prey; adults ambush deer, water buffalo and wild pigs, and carcasses can be detected from up to 10 km away!
How do I live?
Recent research into the feeding behaviour of the Komodo dragon has shown that it is actually venomous, possessing complex venom glands in its jaw, which excrete a variety of toxic substances that prevent blood clotting and lower blood pressure in its prey. This means that even if the injured animal escapes, it will rapidly succumb to shock and blood loss induced by the venom.
The mating season for the Komodo dragon occurs between May and June, with males wrestling to compete for females. Around 25 eggs are laid by the female in a depression dug in the ground. These are then incubated for nine months before hatching, with the small, vulnerable juveniles spending their first year living in trees to avoid predation.
Why am I threatened?
The Komodo dragon population is thought to have declined in the last 50 years, with habitat destruction, loss of prey species and hunting of this giant reptile being blamed.