After Google celebrated 37 years of Komodo Dragon conservation on Monday 7th March 2017. The Komodo Dragon is the largest living species of lizard in the world. There are 5,700 Komodo Dragons that are kept in Indonesia’s Komodo National Park. The reason why the Komodo Dragon is endangered is due to poachers, lack of female egg-layers and natural disasters.
The pure size when up close to a Komodo is truly astonishing, it’s not only the large size that worries you, the razor sharp claws, the powerful jaw bones and the armour-plated skin really makes this lizard deadly. Komodo dragons were unknown to westerners until 1912. Although they are now native to Indonesian islands they got their start in Australia, as sea levels decreased they spread west toward Indonesia for more land. They are the heaviest and largest lizard in the world reaching an adult size of about 10 feet and been known to way more than 136 kilogrammes. The skin is rough and reinforced with bony plates. The claws can be used for tearing and catching prey. The tail is full of muscles, it can be used as a whip to ward off predators. Their eyes are actually quite good seeing objects from about 938 feet away. Despite their weight and size, they can run about 13 mph. Like a snake, the Komodo Dragon will flick its tongue to smell the air for food.
Flora is a Komodo Dragon that taught us a lot about these creatures. They can reproduce through a process called parthenogenesis.This can happen in snakes and lizards, Chester Zoo discovered this when Flora give birth to 11 eggs without ever been in contact with a male.
The Komodo Dragons diet will mainly consist of a dead animal carcass, they do eat large
water buffalo, deer, carrion, pigs and even humans. They will also eat smaller dragons. What is especially interesting about these fierce carnivores is the fact that they can eat 80 percent of their body weight in one feeding. Their flexible skull, loose jaws and expandable stomach. Each of these attributes makes it possible for a Komodo Dragon to swallow prey whole. Due to Komodo Dragons been cold-blooded animals, they require heat in order to digest. Whereas a human’s body will regulate its temperature itself lizard species do not. This is called basking once the dragon has eaten they will go to a hot spot and let the body warm up and digest the food. This is very important not only with Komodo Dragons but other species. If they don’t have a place to bask then the meat could poison them.
It is quite unusual as they have been known to have parthenogenesis births, which is
where no male mates with the female. But when breeding season occurs it is quite unusual to tell the males from the females as they are exactly the same apart from the internal organs is different. Therefore for males, it’s even harder to tell what a female even looks like. To find out when the temperature gets blistering hot the breeding response will be triggered. The males will carry a scent that the females don’t. This consequently could prove disastrous considering the males has to go right up to the other dragon to smell if it has a scent or not. Another way of doing this is going to a feeding frenzy and locating a female out of the group. He will then attract her and lick her cheek following down the body onto the back. He will then scratch her back which creates a huge scraping noise that can be heard 27 meters away. The female when pregnant will find a sandy area where she will dig and lay her ages, this usually occurs 1 month after the mating encounter. The females will usually stick around but once the eggs are born then the female will walk away and then it’s up to the babies to fend for themselves. However, if the female is still around or other dragons are near the nest site then they wouldn’t think twice about devouring their own young.
An Interesting Fact You Didn’t Know Before Reading This!!!!
To avoid been eaten by adult Komodo Dragons, the babies will roll around in faeces to avoid been cannibalised.