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Episode 101: There be Dragons, on Komodo Isle

This week we cover the largest lizard on the planet. The Komodo Dragon. Native to Indonesia, these large reptiles are in danger. With less than 6,000 left they need our help. These are incredible reptiles that have evolved over millions of years and have a story to tell.

Komodo Dragon Description

The Komodo Dragon evolved on the continent of Australia. It is believed they moved to the islands off Indonesia over 900,000 years ago, and have remained there since. Currently, these lizards are found on the island of Komodo, Flores, Rinca, Gili Montag and Gili Dasami.

The scientific name is of the Komodo Dragon is Varanus komodoensis. They belong to the genus of monitor lizards. Which are also found in Asia, Africa, and Oceania.

Komodo Dragon Physiology

The Komodo Dragon can reach 10 feet (3 m) in length and weigh on average 150 -180 lbs (70 kg). Some reports have them at over 300 lbs, but that may be due to weighing them after eating a large meal. It is estimated a single Komodo Dragon can eat up to 80% of its body weight in one sitting.

The most striking facts about the Komodo Dragons is the debate on how they kill their prey. It was originally thought the bacteria in their mouth, after biting an animal, ends up killing them. Others claim it is the venom they inject. The debate is still ongoing but provides many fascinating details that we can learn through solid research.

These animals have an incredible life history and a fascinating animal to learn about.

Conservation Status

The IUCN lists the Komodo Dragon as Vulnerable.  Recent reports out of Indonesia is a large organization was busted for capturing young Komodo Dragons and selling them on the black market as pets. Thus, Indonesia has proposed cutting off Komodo Island for the entire year in 2020 to develop strategies to protect this disappearing species.

Organizations to Support

Komodo Survival Program

Australian Reptile Park

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