Komodo Dragon Characteristics
As you may already know the Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard on earth, its sheer size deems it amazing, but there are quite a few other noteworthy characteristics. To start off, we shall name a few of the more boring but nonetheless important information. The komodo Dragons scientific name is Varanus komodoensis, and it belongs to the family varanidae, or the monitor lizard family.
The Komodo Dragon, as the worlds largest lizard can grow to a length of over 10 feet, average about 8 feet and weigh about 200 pounds. Females however are usually less than 8 feet long and weigh about 150 pounds. Despite its bulky size the Komodo dragon is agile and moves quickly, it is a good swimmer and easily climbs trees. Their sense of smell is impressive and allows them to smell carrion up to an amazing five miles away. Like other lizards, they use their tongue to both smell and taste their prey. They do have the famous “forked tongue”, which is necessary for chemoreception. However, they do not have such an acute sense of hearing or seeing. In fact, although they have a clearly visible ear hole, these animals are practically death. They also have scales throughout their body that connect to nerves, this helps in their sensation of touch.
Komodo dragons have compressed teeth with sharp edges that resemble sharks teeth. Typically they have 60 teeth which are replaced often, giving them new razor-sharp teeth. Although, that being said, don’t try and look for a photo of these teeth. Simply put, you won’t find one. This is because the teeth that everyone fears are covered by thick gums. Secondly, you will most likely be unimpressed by there size, because they only grow to be about an inch. In their case though, size does not matter. This is because their design makes them perfect for meat slicing. The jaws are also perfectly constructed, and they have excessively strong maxillary bones. They also have a flexible skull which allows them to swallow what would otherwise be too large pieces of food.
Secondly, these dragons harbor deadly saliva within their gums. This saliva harbors bacteria that cause blood poising. Therefore, even if an animal manages to escape, it is very are that it will survive. Most of the time, the infection from the lizards bite will kill an animal in about 3 hours. The dragons have strong stomach acid to digest the raw meat.
The Dragons, like other lizards, are covered in rough scales which resemble armor, albeit a bumpy one. These bumps help the lizard as it moves around through the terrain. In terms of color, these dragons are pretty dull, and in fact the duller their color (a dull gray) the older and more mature they are. Like other reptiles these dragons also have large claws. They are usually about two to three inches long. They help them hold onto prey and dig burrows. When these creatures walk, they do so on bowed legs, and their tails swish back and forth to help them stay balanced.
The location of these beasts is manly restricted to the Indonesian islands of komodo, Flores, Rinca, Gili, Padar, and Montang. They live in hot dry grasslands near areas of volcanic activity. There the temperature averages about 80 degrees throughout the year. Typically there is little water available throughout the year. They are unfortunately becoming endangered due to habitat destruction.
Komodo Dragons are usually loners, that is they live their lives solitarily until it is time to mate. Males are extremely cautious of their territory and they will patrol up to 1 and half miles a day. They typically burrow and regulate their temperature by hiding in these burrows. They will hunt by ambush, and once they have gotten close to their prey, they charge with a quick sprinting burst and go for the throat. Komodo Dragons contain a small amount of virulent bacteria which will kill their prey eventually even if they escape.
During mating season the male komodo will press his snout to the female and use his long tongue to receive chemical information about the female’s receptivity. Then he scratches her back with his claws, it is then that the female will show if she is receptive or unreceptive. If she is unreceptive she will hiss and inflate her neck. After mating the female will carry the eggs inside of her for about a month. When she is finally ready to lay her eggs, she will burrow and place about 26 to 30 eggs in the hole, a little at a time. There they will mature for about eight to nine months. When they finally hatch they will climb a tree and live there for about a year. Then they are off on their own.