The Komodo Dragon
On the small Indonesian island of Komodo, near Flores , an unusual creature of myth and legend still roams the land.
The Komodo ,known as the Ora by locals, is the world’s largest lizard and it’s razor sharp teeth can rip and swallow the hindquarters of a deer in seconds. It is around 8 feet long, weighs 45 Kgs and can run at speeds up to 15 mph but it hunts relying on stealth, preying on deer, boar, goat or other large mammals. It was feared these throwbacks from another age were facing extinction, but the money earned from the grizzly spectacle of watching the lizard feed has helped to ensure their survival.
A Komodo would would never make a great violinist- its hearing is terrible- but its amphibian eyes can see up to ¼ of a mile away. Its large yellow forked tongue can break down and analyse smell in the air, and they can sense a deer up to 3 miles away. Its feet sound like a “muffled machine gun” according to some experts, which alert their prey seconds before making a final kill.
After gnawing down a deer ,the smelly dragon keeps bits of meat in its teeth which are highly septic not to mention disgusting! When there’s nothing else to eat they often go for each other- the larger dragons eating babies or a young Komodo – so they’re not the nicest of dinner guests
When they’re trying to attract the ladies, the male Komodo will wrestle his competitors and draw blood before flicking his long tongue all over her snout and body. Four months later, usually in the Autumn , the female dragon lays her eggs. The baby dragons are just over a foot in length, a little larger than a human baby.
Komodos are often thought of as the last remaining descendants of the dinosaurs, although this is not strictly true as they are common ancestors of the Diapsida (two arched reptile) who roamed the earth some 300 million years ago.
The western world first discovered the Komodo in 1910 when a Dutch colonialist heard stories of this strange “land crocodile”. Shortly afterwards, the Komodo became a protected species and has been a source of fascination and much tourism for the island.
Sadly, there are only a few thousand Komodos left on the island- they are dying out through poaching (dragons are reported as being worth up to $30,000 on the black market).
Komodo Dragon Central
A guide and web directory tot hat asounding reptile, with a discussion board, pictures, info on zoos and links.
Zoo Quest For a Dragon
Lutterworth Press, 1957.