Their skin is rough and durable, reinforced with bony plates called osteoderms. They have long claws and a large, muscular tail. Komodos have good vision; they can see objects as far away as feet m , according to the Smithsonian Zoo. They are also speedy. They can run briefly up to 13 mph 20 kph but prefer to hunt by stealth — waiting for hours until prey cross their path. Their sense of smell is their primary food detector, however. According to the Smithsonian Zoo, Komodo dragons, like snakes, use their forked tongues to sample the air, and then touch the tongue to the roof of their mouth, where special organs analyze the airborne molecules.
If the left tongue tip has more concentrated "smell," the dragon knows that their prey is approaching from the left. The lizard's habitat can be anything from a tropical dry forest to a savanna to a deciduous monsoon forest. No matter where they live, the Komodo likes extreme heat. Komodos have dual-purpose homes. To stay warm at night, they make or find burrows to nestle down in.
During the day the same burrow keeps them cool. Komodo dragons are carnivores, meaning they eat meat. They are such fierce hunters they can eat very large prey, such as large water buffalo, deer, carrion, pigs and even humans. They will also eat smaller dragons. The Komodo has a unique way of killing its prey.
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First, it springs up and knocks the prey over with its huge feet. Eggs receiving a Z chromosome become ZZ male ; those receiving a W chromosome become WW and fail to develop,   meaning that only males are produced by parthenogenesis in this species. It has been hypothesised that this reproductive adaptation allows a single female to enter an isolated ecological niche such as an island and by parthenogenesis produce male offspring, thereby establishing a sexually reproducing population via reproduction with her offspring that can result in both male and female young.
Komodo Dragon VS Buffalo
Attacks on humans are rare, but this species has been responsible for several human fatalities, in both the wild and captivity. According to a data from Komodo National Park , within 38 years in a period between and , there were 24 reported attacks on humans, 5 of them deadly. Most of the victims are local villagers living around the national park. Komodo dragons avoid encounters with humans. Older animals will also retreat from humans from a shorter distance away. If cornered, they will react aggressively by gaping their mouth, hissing, and swinging their tail. If they are disturbed further, they may start an attack and bite.
Although there are anecdotes of unprovoked Komodo dragons attacking or preying on humans, most of these reports are either not reputable or caused by defensive bites.
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Only a very few cases are truly the result of unprovoked attacks by abnormal individuals, which lost their fear of humans. Volcanic activity, earthquakes, loss of habitat, fire,   loss of prey due to poaching, tourism, and illegal poaching of the dragons themselves have all contributed to the vulnerable status of the Komodo dragon. In , total population in the wild was assessed as 3, individuals, declining to 3, in and 3, in Populations remained relatively stable on the bigger islands Komodo and Rinca , but decreased on smaller island such as Nusa Kode and Gili Motang, likely due to diminishing prey availability.
Komodo dragons have long been great zoo attractions, where their size and reputation make them popular exhibits.
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They are, however, rare in zoos because they are susceptible to infection and parasitic disease if captured from the wild, and do not readily reproduce. The first Komodo dragons were displayed at London Zoo in More attempts to exhibit Komodo dragons were made, but the lifespan of these animals was very short, averaging five years in the National Zoological Park.
Studies done by Walter Auffenberg, which were documented in his book The Behavioral Ecology of the Komodo Monitor , eventually allowed for more successful managing and reproducing of the dragons in captivity. A variety of behaviors have been observed from captive specimens. Most individuals are relatively tame within a short time,   and are capable of recognising individual humans and discriminating between familiar keepers. This behavior does not seem to be "food-motivated predatory behavior". Even seemingly docile dragons may become unpredictably aggressive, especially when the animal's territory is invaded by someone unfamiliar.
In June , a Komodo dragon seriously injured Phil Bronstein , the then husband of actress Sharon Stone , when he entered its enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo after being invited in by its keeper. Bronstein was bitten on his bare foot, as the keeper had told him to take off his white shoes and socks, which the keeper stated could potentially excite the Komodo dragon as they were the same colour as the white rats the zoo fed the dragon. There are occasional reports of illegal attempts to trade in komodo dragons.
The most recent attempt was in March when Indonesian police in the East Java city of Surabaya reported that a criminal network had been caught trying to smuggle 41 young komodo out of Indonesia. The plan was said to include shipping the animals to several other countries in Southeast Asia through Singapore. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the similarly-named web browser, see Comodo Dragon. Temporal range: Pliocene - Holocene ,  3. Conservation status.
Ouwens , . Play media. Main article: Parthenogenesis. Reptiles portal Indonesia portal. Bibcode : PLoSO Retrieved 5 December Bulletin de l'Institut Botanique de Buitenzorg. Retrieved 6 March Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 19 June Varanus komodoensis. Varanoid Lizards of the World.
Hunting & Diet
Lizards of the World. New York: Facts on File. Bibcode : PNAS Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Hove: Firefly Books Ltd. Retrieved on 8 August Scientific American. Bibcode : SciAm. Retrieved 21 December Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. The third eye: race, cinema, and ethnographic spectacle.
Durham, N. Komodo Foundation. Retrieved 25 October American Museum of Natural History. Archived from the original on 23 November Retrieved 7 June National Wildlife Magazine. Archived from the original on 20 February Washington, D.
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National Geographic. Retrieved 8 November Archived from the original on 7 March Retrieved 15 January Retrieved on 30 September PLOS One. Biology Letters. Australian Journal of Zoology 54, p Wilson New York: DK Publishing. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books. San Diego Zoo Global Zoo Archived from the original on 16 November Retrieved 25 November Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press. National Zoological Park. Singapore Zoological Gardens. Archived from the original on 14 February Zweifel consultant editors ; illustrations by David Kirshner Boston: Academic Press. They are insensitive to low-pitched voices and high-pitched screams.
They lie, well camouflaged and motionless, along game paths used by animals going to waterholes. When the prey animal is about a metre away, the Komodo ambushes it.
If the prey is a large animal, the Komodo dragon goes for the leg, tearing the hamstring. When the animal is down, it then goes for the throat and belly. If the prey if small, it goes directly for the throat and belly. It can also disembowel prey with its powerful clawed feet. Dragons are good swimmers and may swim the long distance from one island to another. Like other monitors, they swim by undulating their tails, their legs held against their bodies. They can also dive and stay underwater, some say up to m.
Komodo Dragon - Hunting
Images starting with Otto are Copyrighted by Otto de Voogd. If you enjoyed information on our Draconian site, please link to us. Link to Us. Contact Us. Vietnamese Dragons. Adaptations to the habitat The Komodo dragon has many fascinating adaptations to survive in the harsh, rugged islands. In addition, the Komodo dragon can put away large quantities of food in a short time. In an environment where food is hard to come by, the Komodo dragon needs to eat as much as possible when it can. And it has to do this fast before other, possibly bigger Komodo dragons arrive at the scene.
To swallow huge chunks of meat, like a snake, the dragon has movable joints in its skull and jaws that allow the lower jaw to be opened unusually wide.