komodo dragon

12 mph

As the dominant predators on the handful of islands they inhabit, they will eat almost anything, including carrion, deer, pigs, smaller dragons, and even large water buffalo and humans. When hunting, Komodo dragons rely on camouflage and patience, lying in wait for passing prey.

Komodo dragons live on only five islands in southeastern Indonesia: Indonesia's four islands within Komodo National Park (Komodo, Rinca, Gili Motang, Gili Dasami), and the island of Flores. The islands are volcanic in origin, rugged and hilly, and covered with both forest and savanna grassland.

The Komodo dragon, also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar.

Komodo dragons have thrived in the harsh climate of Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islands for millions of years.

Komodo dragons are the biggest and heaviest lizards on Earth. Full-grown adults can reach 10 feet (3 meters) long and weigh more than 300 pounds (140 kilograms)! Most weigh about 150 pounds (70 kilograms).

Slaughter a goat. Cut it up. Enlist a few strong friends to hoist three ten-foot-long steel traps, grab bags of goat meat, and trek a few miles up and down knee-punishing hills. Ignore the 90-plus-degree heat that wraps you up and steams you like a dumpling.

Scientists now find that the world’s largest living lizard species, the Komodo dragon, most likely evolved in Australia and dispersed westward to its current home in Indonesia.

"In the past, researchers had suggested the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) developed from a smaller ancestor isolated on the Indonesian islands, evolving its large size as a response to lack of competition from other predators or as a specialist hunter of pygmy elephants known as Stegodon.

Komodo dragons eat by tearing large chunks of flesh and swallowing them whole while holding the carcass down with their forelegs

Most lizards are omnivores, but not Komodo dragons. Meat is what they seek. Inside a Komodo dragon's mouth are about 60 short, sharp teeth that easily cut and tear flesh.

Komodo dragons use their long, forked tongues to pick up smells in the air. An adult Komodo dragon hides along a trail and waits for an unsuspecting creature to walk by; then it attacks with its sharp claws and dangerous teeth. If the prey escapes, the lizard will simply follow it at a leisurely pace. That’s because the dragon’s bite contains deadly bacteria that will eventually kill its intended meal. Soon, other Komodo dragons will join in on the feast, fighting over the best pieces.

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