Where to see them
Komodo dragons are the only lizards known to attack prey larger than themselves.
Komodo saliva contains numerous strains of bacteria, and there is ongoing scientific debate over whether this is used as a strategy to kill prey. Most prey likely die of wounds from the Komodo’s serrated teeth.
Komodos use their highly developed sense of smell to locate food.
Komodo dragons are the world’s largest lizard species. Males can reach 9 feet; females, 7 feet.
Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rintja and Flores
Scrub forests, grasslands
Komodo dragons are solitary but may share space with others in overlapping territories. Individual dominance is recognized at feeding sites. Adults are entirely terrestrial, although juveniles are small enough to live in trees.
Hatchlings feed on geckos, later graduating to rodents, birds, other reptiles and carcasses abandoned by adult dragons. Mature Komodos eat deer, pigs and birds. In rare instances, Komodos may prey on water buffalo and, occasionally, their own species.
Female Komodos lay 15 to 25 eggs, often burying them in the ground where the sun can warm the nest site. Nests are composed of decaying plant matter and provide warmth during the six-to-eight-month incubation period. In some instances, females use pre-existing nests made by medapodes, a bird species native to the area. Hatchling dragons grow about a foot per year in their first few years.
Some of My Neighbors (IN THE WILD)
Deer, civets, pigs, macaques
Population Status & Threats
Hatchlings have a variety of predators, but adults have few natural enemies besides humans. Komodos are threatened primarily by habitat encroachment and decline in prey populations due to poaching.