Komodo Dragon - Lisa Peck`s Environmental Studies Class

Komodo Dragon
The Komodo Dragon is the world’s heaviest living lizard, they can
grow up to 10 feet and weigh as much as 200 lbs. They can live
more than 50 years. They are natives of a small cluster of islands in
Indonesia but have been extirpated from the majority of that land.
The Komodo Dragon is a solitary animal that is grey with as stocky
body and box-shaped head. It has large backwards-facing teeth that
allow it to better grab a hold of its prey. The Komodo Dragon
cannot run very fast for a long time there for it is not an avid hunter
but instead it relies on its acute eyesight and stealth to ambush
unsuspecting prey- one bite is all it takes because the Komodo
Dragon has specialized bacteria in its saliva that causes severe
infection and eventually death in as little as a few hours.
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Species: komodoensis
Scientific Name: Varanus komodoenis
http:[email protected]/3446033521/
Conservation Status
The Komodo Dragon lives in the tropical climate of the
South East Asian Country of Indonesia. Inner parts of its
island habitat are heavily forested, this allows for large
fauna such as the Water Buffalo ( a Komodo Dragon prey of
choice) to inhabit the islands. The outskirts of the islands
are beaches and sand dunes. Despite the fact that Indonesia
has over 1,700 islands, the Komodo Dragon only inhabits 6
of them. The largest island that the Komodo Dragon
inhabits is Flores, but the animal has been extirpated from
the vast majority of this land. There are no migration
patterns for this animal.
Komodo Dragon Range
The Komodo Dragon is generally a scavenger, though it does hunt.
It feeds mostly on large carrion such as Water Buffalo carcasses.
When the Komodo Dragon DOES hunt it uses stealth to sneak close
to the prey, usually by watering holes, and then ambushes it. It uses
its large claws and backwards-facing teeth to cling to the prey, after
the first bite its deadly saliva reaches the blood steam and instantly
starts to poison the prey until it dies. The Komodo Dragon has very
loose, hinging bones in its head and throat, this allows it to swallow
prey up to the size of a goat whole. It has been seen ramming the
carcass of a goat against a tree to help force it down its throat. Other
food includes deer, washed-up fish, snakes, and pigs. It can consume
up to 80% of its body weight in one meal. Due to its extremely slow
metabolism, the Komodo Dragon may only need to eat as little as 12
times a year.
The Komodo Dragon MATES once a year, males compete for
females by standing on their muscular tails and dueling. Once a
male is victorious it stays with the female until the end of the
mating season to prevent other males from mating with her.
However, female Komodo Dragons have the ability of
parthenogenesis meaning that they can lay unfertilized eggs. The
animals born from this process are always male thus there are far
more male Komodo Dragons than females. Females typically lay
between 20-30 eggs which then incubate for 9 months depending
on temperature. Komodo Dragons do not care for their young.
There are approximately 3000-5000 Komodo Dragons in the
Role in Ecosystem
Because the Komodo Dragons are often scavengers they
play a large role in the ecosystem by keeping the islands
clean of decaying carcasses. By consuming the remnants of
dead animals the Komodo Dragon plays much of the same
role as say a Turkey Vulture does in our ecosystem. Other
organisms in the same ecosystem such as Water Buffalo
provide food for these carnivorous animals.
Possible Food Chains:
Grass-> Large Herbivore-> Komodo Dragon
Grass-> Mouse->Snake-> Komodo Dragon
Human encroachment on the Komodo Dragon’s habitat and
poaching of their food sources such as deer and wild pig
have been a problem for the survival of the species. But the
largest threat to the species, surprisingly, are volcanoes.
Because of the volcanic nature of Indonesia and the South
Pacific in general, lots of Komodo Dragon habitat, food
sources and individual have been destroyed by eruptions
and poisonous fumes.
To help protect the Komodo Dragon they have been
listed on the IUCN Red List as vulnerable to help draw
attention to these animals, also in 1980 The Komodo
National Park was established by the Indonesian
Government to protect the majority of the population as
well as their habitat. The park encompasses all of the
island of Komodo.
MY SOLUTIONS: Establish either more protected parks
or increase the size of the existing park because the island
of Komodo is very small in comparison to the
surrounding islands that the Dragons used to inhabit. The
Komodo Dragon truly deserves to be in its own, wild
Youtube Video
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoVLVzAP1c
Blabberized Animal
• http://blabberize.com/view/id/643853
The San Diego Zoo. Rep. Web. 12 Dec. 2011. <http://
World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1996. Varanus komodoensis. In:
IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2.
www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 08 December 2011
"The Komodo Dragon - Facts and Photos." Reptile Knowledge - Reptile
Information - Snakes, Lizards, Turtles. Web. 12 Dec. 2011.
"Komodo Dragon." Honolulu Zoo Home Page. Web. 12 Dec. 2011.
"Komodo Dragon PDF." Denver Zoo. Web. 08 Dec. 2011.

similar documents