Komodo Dragons – by Aaron

Komodo dragons came to the earth about 360,000,000 years ago and they are a protected species in Indonesia. They are the rarest lizard in the world; there are fewer than 6000 adults in the world and about sixty live in zoos. About ten percent are female. Their life spans thirty to fifty years. They also bring money to the small towns because tourists come to the towns to see the Komodo dragons and the tourists stay in hotels, and buy food and souvenirs. They are also the biggest and heaviest lizard in the world. Males can grow up to ten feet and three hundred pounds and females can grow up to seven and a half feet and weigh one hundred and fifty pounds. They have a large head compared to their body. They are very good swimmers, fast runners, and good climbers. On the black market, they cost about $30,000. They also like to play sometimes. For example, sometimes they like to play with buckets on their heads or play tug of war. 

Komodo dragons usually mate from May to August. Two males see each other and a female stands off to the side. Then the males fight and the winner mates with the female. They have scales that are like armor, but they have no predators, which doesn’t make any sense. However, they have the scales for fighting to mate. Female Komodo dragons can reproduce without mating with a male, but the baby will always be a male. This process is called parthenogenesis.  

The mom lays about fifteen to thirty eggs each time. The eggs are called a clutch. The eggs hatch in about 34 weeks. When hatched they are about one foot long and they have green, speckled skin. When they are young they mostly live in trees. They grow too big for the tree in four years.  

Komodo dragons are cold-blooded and only found in four islands in Indonesia: Komodo, Rinca, Gili Montang and Gili Dasami. They dig burrows to keep cool. Their dark skin color is good for the rocky terrain. They hunt by hiding in the tall grass waiting for their prey. They can smell blood with their big yellow tongue from up to six miles away by tasting the air particles. They have over sixty kinds of bacteria on their mouth and because of that their breath stinks. They store their venom in their bottom jaw, which kills the prey. Their teeth are serrated so they are good for cutting flesh. They also use their claws for hunting. Their big, heavy tails are good for knocking down prey. They store most of their food in their tail, so that’s why it’s so big and heavy. Because they store most of their food in their tail, they can go one to one-and-a-half months without eating. 

Adult Komodo dragons mainly eat deer, pigs, goats, water buffalo, and smaller Komodo dragons. Young Komodo dragons mainly eat insects, eggs, and geckos. They are carnivores, which means that they eat meat. Komodo dragons rarely eat humans, but they have before.

They are also scavengers, which means that if they find something that is already dead and it still has some food on it, they will eat it. When a group of Komodo dragons kills large prey, they share it. A male can eat eighty percent of its body weight and they are very fast eaters. They can eat a 68-pound boar in seventeen minutes.    

It is important to save the Komodo dragons because they are endangered. To save the Komodo dragons, do not purchase any products made from them because they are killed for it. If nobody buys the products, then people will stop hunting Komodo dragons. Also, avoid buying timber or wood from Komodo Island. Finally, if you go to Komodo Island as a tourist, avoid harming them.