Komodo dragon belongs from the monitor lizard family and the largest lizard species on Earth. They do not fly or breath fire but, they look real pre historic. These magnificent creatures are apex predators and live on the top of food chain in their habitat. Being ferocious and carnivorous these creature are also very intelligent and interesting. Here are some less known facts about them.
1. Komodo dragons do live in 4 Islands Komodo, Flores, Rinca and Gili Motang of Indonesia. But, they originally belongs from Australia. Fossils found there having age of 9,00,000 years and they disappeared from Australia around 50,000 years ago. Scientists believe it caused due to human habitat, deforestation etc. Now they are only found in Indonesian islands but, according to National Union for Conservation of Nature they are listed as vulnerable to extinct species.
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2. Komodo Dragon can grow upto 8.5 feet in length and weigh as much as 120kgs. They have tail almost the same length as their body and its very strong. They use their tail to attack prey or any upcoming threat. In general they do live for 30 years but in captivity they survive less.
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3. It was believed that komodo dragons have poisonous saliva as it consist of various bacterias. But, in 2009 a venom researcher Bryan Fry uncovered the truth. Their saliva is definitely infectious but they also have venom but unlike snakes, a dragon’s venom seeps into wounds of the unfortunate animal it attacks. The victim may escape the grip but couldn’t escape the venom’s reaction. It slowly paralyses and cause blood loss even enough pain that kills the victim afterwards. Then the dragon track the kill by their acute sense of smell.
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4. They remain active on day as their vision is not so great and so do their hearing capabilities. But, they do have very strong sense of smell. Like other reptiles they have forked tongue which pick any air carried substances and feed them to the Jacobson’s organ placed on the upper jaw of their mouth. They can get smell approximately 6 miles away. They pick the smell and wait at nearest possible place for ambush. Their massive muscular body and deadly saliva venom combination can kill wild boars, goats even buffaloes.
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5. These lizards have their own armor. In 2019, a group of scientists did computed tomography on some specimen. What they found is real astonishing. Komodo dragons have bony deposits in their skin, known as Osteoderms of many different shapes. It is not a characteristic by born but, they develop these armor as their age progresses. These Osteoderms can reveal a Komodo dragon’s growth.
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6. Due to their massive body they have huge appetite also. These carnivorous lizards do feed on almost anything they find including dead carcasses even they are known as grave robbers in Indonesia. They eat almost 80% of their own body weight at one meal. As their digestion process is very slow they rest in sun after meal and go through owl like regurgitate state, known as gastric pellet. After a big meal these lizards can go for months without eating again.
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7. Female Komodo dragons can reproduce without male. In 2006, 2 females has been observed in London’s Chester Zoo and London Zoo, which did lay eggs without any male presence. Parthenogenesis can be seen in 68-70 species around the world and first time it had been confirmed in Komodo dragon.
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8. In spite of their bulky body, these dragons can run with shocking speed. On average they can run as fast as 13miles/hr or 20kms/hr and also able to swim quite efficiently. They are often seen in Indonesia swimming from island to island in search of food.
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