In this article about the Komodo Dragon, we will try to elucidate a maximum of mysteries concerning the famous monitor. We will bring answers to a multitude of questions about it, such as :
The Komodo monitor remains one of the most fascinating and fantastic living creatures of our time, discover it through our "Ultimate Guide". I wish you a good reading.
KOMODO DRAGON, WHO IS IT ?
They are as charismatic as orangutans, tigers or pandas, but the future of the largest lizard on Earth is uncertain. The Komodo dragon, (Varanus komodoensis), is the largest species of lizard existing on the planet, this reptile is part of the Varanidae family. Also called Komodo monster and Komodo monitor, it is found on the island of Komodo and near some islands of the Sunda (archipelago of Insulinde), in central Indonesia.
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Popular interest in the large size and predatory habits of this particular lizard has allowed this endangered species to become an ecotourism attraction, which has fortunately encouraged its protection. However, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Komodo dragon is currently in a "vulnerable" conservation status.
These large lizards range in color from black to yellow-gray, depending on their location, and have rough, durable skin reinforced with osteoderms (bony plates) that protect them from injuries from scratches and bites. The Komodo dragon also has a large muscular tail and long, powerful claws. It reminds us of the mythical dragons that breathe fire.
KOMODO DRAGON , WHERE DOES IT COME FROM ?
Where do they come from? Although they are famous for inhabiting the Indonesian island of Komodo and surrounding islands, the Komodo dragon got its start in Australia. According to the fossil record, Komodo dragons moved from Australia to the islands of Indonesia, arriving on the island of Flores about 900,000 years ago. According to paleontologist and environmentalist Tim Flannery, the Komodo dragon disappeared from Australia about 50,000 years ago, a disappearance that coincides with the arrival of humans on the continent.
KOMODO DRAGON HABITAT
What is their habitat like ? They are quite rare creatures and are only found in the wild on five islands: the islands of Komodo Minor Probe, Rinca, Gili Montang and Gili Dasami, all located in the Komodo National Park, and on the island of Flores, where they roam freely. They are able to continue to thrive in conditions that are unsuitable for other creatures and humans. Many of them are found in captivity, in zoos, because they attract large crowds.
The area where the Komodo dragon lives must be arid for them to do well. They can live in the forest or open savannah and do best in temperatures that hover around 40 degrees Celsius each day. The area where this lizard lives in the wild is dry year round, except during the monsoon season. These reptiles need water to survive, and have the ability to store water when it rains, or when they enter the water to swim. When their bodies become too hot, they excrete salt instead of water.
POPULATION OF THE KOMODO DRAGON
There are approximately 6,000 Komodo dragons alive at this precise date. Their populations are limited to the lower Sunda Islands of Indonesia, including the islands of Komodo (1,700), Rinca (1,300), Gili Motang (100) and Flores (perhaps 2,000), according to estimates by the World Animal Foundation. Komodo dragons made their first appearance outside of Indonesia in 1992 at the Washington National Zoological Park. The zoo reports that four litters have been hatched and 55 cubs now live in more than 30 zoos around the world.
KOMODO DRAGON : HIS PHYSICAL CHARACTER
KOMODO DRAGON SKIN
Adults are gray or clay-colored; juveniles are more colorful, with lighter, mottled skin.
Females and males are similar in color although females have more red on their flanks.
The yellow and forked tongue is one of their specific characteristics.
KOMODO DRAGON VIEW
It is his primary food detector, he can spot carrion up to 5 km away.
Odorous particles in the air are collected by the forked tongue and brought to the palate (Jacobson's organs) where signals are generated and sent to the brain.
Retinas have only cone cells that can detect color, but are weak in dim light.
It can see up to 300 meters away. Very useful for hunting to detect the movements of its targets.
HEARING THE KOMODO DRAGON
The Komodo dragon is not deaf, but it does not depend on sound as much as on smell.
It can only hear a small range of frequencies.
KOMODO DRAGON SIZE
This Komodo dragon can reach a total length of 3 meters (the average is 2 meters). Females are smaller and measure up to 1.8 meters long. These proportions are data collected in captivity. The physical characteristics of the Komodo dragon are impressive. Of the 5,600 species of lizards, the Komodo dragon is the largest in the world. Because of the size and aggressiveness of the Komodo dragon, there are stories and legends about them in many cultures. The size of the Komodo dragon plays a major role in the food chain.
These reptiles (not extinct) are the most spectacular in terms of size and they still exist in the world today. They are so large that they are called mythical giants. These impressive creatures are unique in many ways. However, the size of the Komodo dragon is certainly its most obvious physical feature. When fully grown, once on its hind legs its size is far greater than the average human height (1.71 meters) in the world. Moreover, they dominate the eco-system in which they live thanks to their imposing size.
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KOMODO DRAGON WEIGHT
At a staggering average weight of 70 kg, these lizards are true monsters. This makes the Komodo dragon slightly heavier on average than humans (although well below the American average of 88.8 kg). This makes them much larger than other lizards, which weigh about 15 kg. These huge weights are just averages. The largest Komodo dragon reliably measured weighed 166 kg! That's more than the weight of a standard refrigerator. Males tend to grow larger and bulkier than females. The young weigh less than 100 grams. Their early years are precarious, and they often fall victim to predators, including other Komodo dragons. At 5 years old, they weigh about 25 kilograms. At this point, they begin to hunt larger prey. They continue to grow slowly throughout their lives.
The weight of the Komodo dragon is sometimes reported to be even higher than that. This is due to another amazing ability of the Komodo dragon. Their stomach expands easily when they eat. This allows them to eat up to 80% of their weight in one meal! Imagine almost doubling your weight after eating a large Christmas meal. This extreme weight gain slows them down considerably. As a result, they vomit their stomach contents when threatened. This allows it to quickly escape from its predators in case of need. It is a way to manage a food coma. The Komodo dragon is not only large but also muscular. This contributes to their massive weight. Although they are definitely the largest lizards in terms of weight.
KOMODO DRAGON VENOM
The team of the youtube channel "Animal Planet" observes Komodo dragons hunting in the wild during a visit to the island of Rinca in Indonesia. They then demonstrate the effect of the powerful venom on a piece of raw meat, the experiment takes place at 5 minutes and 25 seconds. The goal is simple, to compare the bacteria and toxins present in the mouth of the man to that of the reptile, after the bite, they will come to settle and contaminate the meat during 3 days. The result is deadly hallucinating.
The Komodo dragon is one of the few lizards with a venomous bite. These stealthy and powerful hunters rely on their sense of smell to detect food, using their long forked tongues to sample the air and detect odors and flavors. Each end of the tongue captures molecules belonging to the prey and transfers them to a sensory organ in the mouth, which will mark the way forward.
Another reason why these creatures are so fascinating is that they are immune to their own poisons. The reason for this is unknown, but members of their species are themselves protected from the venom of their fellow creatures. Scientists are investigating the possibility of finding antibodies in the blood of the Komodo dragon that could be responsible. The saliva of the Komodo dragon is toxic, its prey often dies from the wounds, even if it manages to escape despite the bite, it often succumbs from the infection of its wounds
The Komodo dragon is thought to have evolved from the large reptiles of the genus Varanus, which roamed the Earth over 200 million years ago. Many experts wonder why this species is one of only two that produce poison. They rarely need to directly capture live prey, as their toxic bite releases toxins that inhibit blood clotting.
Some herpetologists point out that the physical trauma of the bite and the introduction of bacteria from the Komodo dragon's mouth into the wound also play a role in the prey's decreased vitality and death. Because they are in no hurry once the toxin is inoculated, Komodo dragons often find their prey dying or shortly after death.
Its venom, among other things, reduces blood pressure, with some compounds as potent as those found in the most venomous snake, the Taipan (Western Australia). The venom of a Komodo dragon seeps into the wounds it inflicts on any unfortunate animal it attacks. The animal may escape the dragon's grip, but it will not escape the venom that will eventually bring it down.
KOMODO DRAGON BITE : A DEADLY ACT
We know that the Komodo monitor is a tough and powerful beast, and in the video below, Steve Backshall (an English naturalist) who in his mad quest, seeks to add a reptile to his list of "60 deadliest predators" in the world. And what better way than to go to Indonesia to find the biggest lizard on earth. He will use a device that will measure the power of the komodo dragon's jaw, to ultimately deduce how dangerous the bite is. The experiment starts at 1 minute and 25 seconds.
Steve is interested in the bite of the Komodo dragon, because lizards in general are not known for the power of their jaws. He decides to measure his own bite first to get an idea of how the lizard compares to himself, the result is 8.4 kg/cm².
The komodo lizards do not wait, curious and hungry, with the smell of blood that emanates from the meat, they hasten to tear the meat by biting the measuring device. Steve honors their tails which for him, would be used as a defensive weapon by comparing it to a baseball bat, during the experiment at 2 min and 48 seconds, one of the komodo dragons makes a demonstration on one of his companions. Very impressed by the result of the power of the reptile's jaw which is 42 kg/cm², surpassing 5 times that of man.
DRAGON KOMODO ATTACK
The Komodo dragon has an incredible sense of smell. Experts estimate that they are able to smell up to six kilometers away if the wind is blowing in the right direction, making it easy for them to find their prey. The combination of their speed of movement, their powerful teeth and their unerring venom means that they are almost always victorious. They can run quickly and occasionally attack and kill humans. They often wait along the beaten path to ambush passing pigs, deer and cattle.
Komodo dragons have very good vision, they can see their prey at a distance of up to 300 meters. They are also very fast, although they don't need to be. Despite their rugged appearance, they can run briefly at a speed of 20 km/h. But they prefer to hunt stealthily, waiting for hours for their prey to cross their path. They are very patient animals and their victims often fall victim to their attacks. The video below is a perfect example of the determination of the Komodo dragon, so please don't be too sensitive.
The Komodo dragon is said to have inspired the creation of the iconic movie monster Godzilla. They are known to fight to establish dominance or to attract the attention of females. And while they usually prefer deer for dinner, they are also known to attack and eat humans, as well as other large animals, such as monkeys.
KOMODO DRAGON : A THREAT TO HUMANS ?
Komodo dragons have shark teeth and toxic venom that can kill a person within hours of a bite. Yet villagers who have lived for generations (komodo island) alongside the world's largest lizard were not afraid, until the dragons began to attack. Stories quickly spread in this small tropical archipelago in southeast Indonesia, the only place where the endangered reptiles can still be found in the wild. Two people were killed in 2007, a young boy and a fisherman, and others were seriously injured after being attacked without provoking the lizards.
Komodo dragon attacks are still rare, experts note. But fear swirls through fishing villages, as do questions about how best to live with dragons in the future. A 46-year-old park ranger was doing paperwork when a dragon slithered down the stairs of his wooden hut in Komodo National Park and attacked his ankles, which were dragging under the desk. When the ranger tried to open the beast's powerful jaws, it sank its teeth into his hand, he says.
"I thought I wouldn't survive... I've spent half my life working with komodo dragons and I've never seen anything like this," the man said, pointing to his jagged gashes, stitched with 55 stitches and still swollen three months later. "Luckily, my friends heard my screams and got me to the hospital in time." We can assume that the behavior of the Komodo dragon is quite unpredictable, it is a born hunter and predator, because of its physical abilities, it does not hesitate to attack bigger than him, if you are in his presence, or at least not very far, stay on your guard and at a good distance.
WHAT DO KOMODO DRAGONS EAT ?
To summarize, the diet of the Komodo dragon is rich and varied, it includes wild pigs, goats, deer and water buffalo. In the wild, it has also been observed to eat other smaller dragons. They have been known to occasionally eat humans and human corpses. More than a dozen human deaths have been attributed to bites in the last century, although there are reports of survivors of the resulting sepsis. Few people survive to tell how they escaped the Komodo dragon.
You there well understood, its favorite meal, being carnivorous, is the meat. It can ingest the equivalent of 80% of their weight in meat, which is incredible compared to the human being. It is better not to cross its path and not to underestimate it. In the food chain, the only being above it that can be a danger of death for it is the human being. In addition to hunting large mammals, the Komodo dragon feeds on its own species, they cannibalize the young. In captivity, the Komodo dragon eats rodents, chicks and rabbits. Occasionally, it consumes fish and beef carcasses.
KOMODO DRAGON REPRODUCTION
The Komodo dragon is a solitary creature that lives in isolation, except for the occasional mating that takes place during the dry season, between May and August (the only time you will have the chance to witness the fierce battle of rival males). The males compete with each other for the chance to mate with the females. The female will usually develop a visually enlarged abdomen and begin to emit pheromones that act as signals to the males.
KOMODO DRAGON MATING : HOW DOES IT WORK ?
During the mating season of the Komodo dragon, the large dominant males fight intensely for females and territory. This often happens when they gather over a carcass to feed. Blood usually flows and the loser ends up running away or freezing in place as a sign of abdication and abandonment. Before the mating season, females have a number of their eggs develop into yolk in a process called vitellogenesis. Did you know that the komodo dragon is famous for its loyalty? Indeed, they are also known to form pair bonds, and even remain monogamous with their partner, which is rare... among lizard species.
As with many reptiles, the number of Komodo dragon females that nest each year often changes, due to the availability of prey and the physical condition of the female. In the wild, females do not breed every year. During these "rest" years, they recover from the energy costs incurred by their bodies for egg production during the fertile years.
BABY KOMODO DRAGON
At birth, baby Komodo dragons are only 30 centimeters long. As soon as they hatch, the young run away and climb trees to avoid being eaten by their mother or other Komodo dragons. The life of a young Komodo dragon is not easy. That's right, adults see the young ones as easy meals. Fortunately for the babies, the adults are too heavy and clumsy to climb trees.
At age 4 and about 1.2 meters, young Komodo dragons descend and live on the ground, according to the San Diego Zoo. Those that survive can expect a long life. A Komodo dragon has an average lifespan of 30 years. The eggs are incubated for 7 to 8 months and hatch in April of the following year when insects are abundant. About 20 eggs are laid in September and are deposited in abandoned nests of megapods: medium-sized, stocky, bird-like chickens with small heads and large feet.
The mother of the newborns will also try to protect her future babies from possible dangers, she will create false nests to lure and deceive potential predators to keep her eggs safe. Then, the incubation of her komodo dragon eggs which are the size of a grapefruit, will last about three months. This group of eggs, called a clutch, will eventually hatch and new beings will see the light of day. In its youth, the claws will be used to climb trees.
What is unusual is that females can have "virgin births" (Parthenogenesis). This means that they do not need a male to fertilize an egg so that it can hatch. The creation of offspring without the help of the opposite sex is called "asexual reproduction". Komodo dragons can reproduce both sexually and asexually. According to the Smithsonian Institute, which manages the Washington National Zoological Park, there is no evidence that parents care for the newborns. Knowing that they reach maturity around 5-7 years.
KOMODO DRAGON SYMBOLISM
KOMODO DRAGON MEANING
In this case, the symbolism of the Komodo dragon heralds a time of new adventures and journeys both physical and spiritual. These new experiences will help you direct your creative forces into the future. Therefore, the significance of the Komodo dragon, like the painted turtle, lets you know that any seed you sow today will reap great rewards in the future. It is also imperative that you take the time to go inward and be clear about your intentions and goals. Thus, the symbolism of the Komodo dragon also reminds you that these changes will be lasting. In other words, decide where you want to go and then take action.
KOMODO DRAGON TOTEM (SPIRIT ANIMAL)
People with the Komodo dragon totem have a highly developed survival instinct and can function with very little. They know how to make quick decisions to act quickly. People with this spirit animal totem will rarely miss any opportunity. Thus, they always stay focused and finish their projects and goals. These people also have great confidence in almost everything they do. In addition, they are passionate about life and are not afraid to go it alone if they have to.
DREAMS ABOUT KOMODO DRAGONS
When you have a Komodo dragon dream, like the cheetah, it means you need to be more flexible in your thinking and decision making. You may also be able to take advantage of opportunities that are currently available to you. Your agility and discretion will help you get what you want. In other words, go for it! If you don't, this giant reptile could symbolize real fear. Moreover, this fear manifests itself in negative results in your attempts to achieve your goals. You need to dig for the source and deal with it. From time to time, this large reptile will appear in your dreams to signal that you are neglecting an opportunity that has come your way. In other words, you are dismissing something as irrelevant, when it may be everything you are looking for.
5 FACTS ABOUT THE KOMODO DRAGON
CAN KOMODO DRAGONS SWIN ?
Yet when you look at the size and length of a Komodo dragon, full of muscles, moving on land, you don't think about the fact that it is an innate natural swimmer. However, Komodo dragons, like most other reptiles, are seasoned swimmers! They can swim for hours and have been spotted miles offshore, sometimes changing islands.
KOMODO DRAGON PLAYING
Although they are very scary to watch, these predators are known to be very playful in captivity. Captive specimens have been seen playing with everyday objects like shoes and shovels, or toys like frisbees and ropes. A study was conducted on a captive dragon named "Kraken" at the Smithsonian Zoo after it began acting strangely toward zoo employees. It was observed pulling on shoelaces with its teeth, or gently removing items from people's pockets.
Zoo employees decided to introduce objects into his enclosure, such as boxes, blankets, shoes and frisbees, the reptile also liked to play tug of war with the caretakers. The observed behavior was interpreted as play, as Kraken showed no aggression and did not do so for food reward. The Komodo dragon was also able to learn commands, such as walking towards a handler when he whistled, and understanding that it was time to eat when a handler wore brightly colored gloves.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH RECEIVES A KOMODO DRAGON
The 41st President of the United States, about halfway through his four-year term, received a male Komodo dragon named Naga from the Indonesian government. Despite the temptation to let him run amok in the Oval Office, he decided to give him to the Cincinnati Zoo. Naga lived to the ripe old age of 24, and fathered more than 32 baby Komodo dragons. He was one of the Cincinnati Zoo's main attractions, receiving a million visitors a year and even went on tour as a conservation officer in 1995.
YOUNG KOMODO DRAGONS ROLL IN FECES
There's a simple and vital reason for this, and that is that adults are anything but picky and won't think twice about devouring their own offspring. Until they're old enough to fend for themselves, young Komodo dragons stay away from hungry adults by taking refuge in trees, where they become agile branch-climbing predators. But this is not always enough. When close encounters are imminent, the juveniles make themselves as unappetizing as possible by rolling in dung, and that's something even the most voracious Komodo dragon can't handle.
KOMODO DRAGON TEETH : THEY GROW BACK !
In the mouth of a Komodo dragon, there are about 60 short, sharp teeth designed to cut and tear flesh. They resemble shark teeth and have been compared to those of an extinct saber-toothed cat. A Komodo dragon goes through four or five sets of teeth in its lifetime. They eat extremely fast, consuming 2 to 3 kg of meat per minute is a breeze for them.
KOMODO DRAGON ENDANGERED SPECIES ?
The Komodo dragon is a unique and rare species. They live only on a few Indonesian islands, called the Lesser Sunda Islands. The largest population is found on the island of Komodo. The populations are however decreasing. The IUCN classifies this animal as a vulnerable species. This is due in part to farmers who poison the carrion to kill these predators. Their limited range also puts them in great danger of extinction. It is estimated that there are only 6,000 Komodo dragons in the wild. This exceptional and endangered species deserves protection and respect. Efforts to protect these animals continue in Indonesia and in the zoos that keep these lizards in captivity, by going to visit them, you also participate.
Although they have been hunted (legally and illegally), their population decline is due to their limited range. No Komodo dragons have been seen on Padar Island since the 1970s as a result of widespread poaching of deer, the reptile's main source of prey. The Komodo National Park, established in 1980, and strict anti-poaching laws have helped protect them, although illegal activities still occur. Villagers sometimes poison carrion bait to reduce the population, much as ranchers in the American West poison sheep carcasses to rid the area of coyotes and mountain lions. The Dutch colonial government put protection plans in place as early as 1915.
We are slowly but surely coming to the end of this article, there are still a lot of facts and stories about the Komodo dragon that we haven't explored, however, every good thing has an end. Before you leave, if you like this kind of creature, you will surely like what we propose on our store dedicated to dragons, have a look at our young dragon shop, you will find for example sumptuous decoration paintings with the effigy of dragons.