Komodo dragons are unique and magnificent animals – but are not what most people would class as cute and cuddly. They are apex predators in their environments and have some impressive adaptations that make them formidable hunters. In this clip, we see one swallow a whole wild boar. We learn from the video notes that the wild boar had been bitten by a Komodo dragon a few days before and had gradually died. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this reptile so unique.
Komodo’s Very Limited Range
Komodo dragons are only found in the wild on five Indonesian islands. There are between 3,000 and 5,000 of them alive today and they are a species of monitor lizard. They have been described as one of the most aggressive and dangerous lizards on the planet. However, due to a combination of climate change, habitat loss, and a shortage of prey, they are now endangered. These guys like to hang out on open woodlands, dry savannahs, scrubby hillsides and dried riverbeds.
Komodo dragons can live for 40 years and grow to over 10 feet in length and 300 pounds in weight.
These large reptiles have thick bodies with short, muscular legs, and a very powerful tail that they use for fighting and for support when they are standing up on their hind legs.
Komodo Dragon’s Diet and Prey
Komodo dragons use an ‘ambush’ strategy for hunting utilizing speed and ferocity. They are one of the most aggressive hunters on the planet. They detect prey using their excellent eyesight and by picking up chemical signals using their forked tongue. The tongue moves the chemicals to a special scent-detecting organ called the Jacobson’s organ in the roof of its mouth.
These reptiles will eat almost any kind of meat and are happy to scavenge for carcasses. When they catch their own prey, it could be anything from a small rodent to a large water buffalo. They are also cannibalistic and will eat other Komodo dragons! The prey is fatally injured using their serrated, curved teeth and they even have a venom gland that delivers harmful bacteria and an anti-coagulant into the victim. Even if the poor animal does not die from blood loss, it will perish from a nasty infection! Amazingly, this is not true for other Komodo Dragons who seem to be immune from it.
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