Komodo Dragon

Komodo Monitor

Summary

The Komodo dragon, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of 3 metres (10 ft) in rare cases and weighing up to around 70 kilograms (150 lb). As a result of their size, Young Komodo dragons are vulnerable and therefore dwell in trees, safe from predators and cannabilistic adults. They take about eight to 9 years to mature, and are estimated to live up to 30 years.

Senses

The Komodo dragon does not have an acute sense of hearing, despite its visible earholes, and is only able to hear sounds between 400 and 2000 hertz. It was formerly thought to be deaf when a study reported no agitation in wild Komodo dragons in response to whispers, raised voices, or shouts.Komodo dragon is able to see as far away as 300 m (980 ft), but because its retinas only contain cones, it is thought to have poor night vision. The Komodo dragon is able to see in color, but has poor visual discrimination of stationary objects.

A Komodo dragon on Komodo Island uses its tongue to sample the air.

The Komodo dragon uses its tongue to detect, taste, and smell stimuli, as with many other reptiles, with the vomeronasal sense using the Jacobson's organ, rather than using the nostrils.[17] With the help of a favorable wind and its habit of swinging its head from side to side as it walks, a Komodo dragon may be able to detect carrion from 4–9.5 km (2.5–5.9 mi) away.[20] It only has a few taste buds in the back of its throat.[17] Its scales, some of which are reinforced with bone, have sensory plaques connected to nerves to facilitate its sense of touch. The scales around the ears, lips, chin, and soles of the feet may have three or more sensory plaques

Big image
Big image

Diet

Komodo dragons are carnivores. Although they eat mostly carrion, they will also ambush live prey with a stealthy approach. When suitable prey arrives near a dragon's ambush site, it will suddenly charge at the animal and go for the underside or the throat. Komodo dragons eat by tearing large chunks of flesh and swallowing them whole while holding the carcass down with their forelegs. A Komodo dragon may attempt to speed up the process by ramming the carcass against a tree to force it down its throat, sometimes ramming so forcefully, the tree is knocked down. To prevent itself from suffocating while swallowing, it breathes using a small tube under the tongue that connects to the lungs.

Saliva

Auffenberg described the Komodo dragon as having septic pathogens in its saliva (he described the saliva as "reddish and copious"). He noted, while these pathogens can be found in the mouths of wild Komodo dragons, they disappear from the mouths of captive animals, due to cleaner diets and the use of antibiotics. Saliva samples were analyzed by researchers at the who found 57 strains of bacteria growing in the mouths of three wild Komodo dragons.