Monday, July 18, 2011

The Komodo Dragon: World's Biggest Lizard

For such a rare animal, the Komodo dragon is quite well recognized. Also called the island monitor, the Komodo Dragon can grow to nearly 10 feet long and weigh up to 150lbs, making it the world’s largest living lizard.
Photo: Midori
The reason the Komodo dragon grows so large has been attributed to its island habitat. Komodo dragons can only be found on the Indonesian islands of Gili Motang, Gili Dasami, Rinca, Flores, and of course Komodo. Unlike mainland ecosystems, these islands have no large, native predatory mammals and it is believed that the Komodo dragon evolved into its large stature as a way to fill this niche.

Komodo dragons are carnivores and mainly eat carrion; however they can and do hunt many varieties of animals up to the size of deer and goats. Komodo dragons eat up to 80% of their body weight at a time and have very slow metabolisms. Because of this, they can survive on as little as 12 meals per year; imagine eating just once a month!
Sleeping after a large meal.
Komodo dragons can live up to 30 years, but natural disasters, tourism, habitat loss and poaching of the animals they prey upon has led to a decline in their populations. It is estimated that there are fewer than 5000 Komodo dragons left in the wild, with only about 350 breeding females remaining.

For more animal information, be sure to visit our Animal Facts and Information page!

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