Komodo Dragon

Varanus Komodoensis

1. Food Chain & Habitat

  • They are carnivores, and they can eat anything from a small rodent to a water buffalo, but they mostly hunt for carrion (SNzoo)
  • The young mostly feed on small lizards or insects (SNzoo)
  • They both scavenge and hunt for their prey (SNzoo)
  • They have no predators, and are cannibalistic (IF)
  • A bitten prey will die of the toxin in its saliva if not of the wound (NGeo)
  • Its saliva includes more than 50 different types of bacteria (NGeo)
  • They live in lower, arid forests and savanna (where the temperature is extremely harsh by human standards) (IF)
  • They live in the country of Indonesia (IF)
  • They live in these volcanic islands: the Lesser Sunda Islands, which include Komodo, Rintja, Padar, and Flores islands (IF)
  • They usually make temporary nests for themselves (Hzoo)

2. Description

  • They are reptiles, and their scales have bumps in a lattice-work pattern (WIKI)
  • Their scale color ranges from grey, brown, cream, and mottled black and orange (WIKI)
  • The average length for males is eight feet (2.5 meters), and can grow up to ten feet (Hzoo)
  • The average weight for males is 200 pounds (91 kilograms) (Hzoo)
  • Females are usually under eight feet, weighing about 150 pounds (Hzoo)
  • They are solitary animals, therefore do not typically communicate, unless they are mating (Hzoo)
  • Unusual characteristics:
  • Its saliva, which contains 50 different types of bacteria that can cause blood poisoning to a bitten prey (Hzoo), (NGeo)
  • Its life span, which can be over 50 years (NGeo)
  • The fact that through recent studies, females can reproduce both sexually and asexually (IF)

3. Adaptation

  • Adaptations for protection include: long tail, sharp claws, strong jaws, sharp teeth, and rough skin (NGeo)
  • Their teeth are serrated and are frequently replaced (SNzoo)
  • They have good eye sight, and can see things up to 300 meters away (SNzoo)
  • Their speed is surprisingly fast when running, about 14-18 km per hour (Bag)
  • They do not migrate to far away places, but between the close islands of Indonesia (KD)
  • They do not hibernate because of the warm weathers of their habitat (KD)
  • In fights, the males often arch their necks and pop out their throats before they attack (Bag)
  • Powerful legs and sharp claws help them with hunting prey (Bag)
  • They hunt independently, but can eat together (SNzoo)
  • They spot prey by either smelling it, or seeing it (SNzoo)
  • Their skin also provides camouflage (WIKI)

4. Reasons For Endangerment

  • Habitat loss, from the lowering of sea level in Australia (WIKI)
  • Humans hunting them for their skin, claws, etc. (Bag)
  • Volcanic activity, forest fires, and loss of prey base (Hzoo)

5. Critical Information

What is currently being done to help?

  • Major causes of endangerment are illegal hunting and human settlement (Bag)
  • They are hunted and killed for their skins and feet to make novelties (Bag)
  • What is currently being done to help:
  • Trade is prohibited by CITES (Bag)
  • Komodo island is made a national park (Bag)

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