Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is the largest lizard in the world, growing to a length of about 3 metres (10 feet) and weighing between 80 and 140 kg (175 to 310 lb). It is a member of the monitor lizard family, Varanidae.
Dragons have keen senses and are considered among the most intelligent living reptiles.
They are carnivores and hunt live prey, with a stealthy approach followed by a sudden short charge (they can run briefly at speeds up to 20 km/h). They have a strong bite augmented by severe infection of wounds, caused by the some 50 different strains of bacteria in their saliva. After they bite, they release their prey to allow it to die before devouring it; this allows them to avoid injury. Dragons will fight over kills, however unlike any other known animal, they are themselves immune to bacterial infection from dragon bites.
Dragons eat any animals they can catch, up to the size of wild pigs, goats, deer, and water buffaloes and occasionally including human beings. Over a dozen human deaths have been attributed to dragon bites in the last century, though there are reports of survivors of the resulting septicemia.
Mating occurs between May and August, with the eggs laid in September. The eggs are protected, but the hatchlings (100 g and 40 cm in length) are not and most are eaten. Komodo Dragons take around five years to grow to 2 metres in length and can live for up to 30 years.
The Komodo monitor was first reported by a European in 1910. The creatures were introduced to the rest of the world in a 1912 paper by Peter Ouwens, the director of the Zoological Museum at Bogor, Java.
- Main: Varanus, Lizards, Flores island, Megalania prisca
- Fiction: European dragon and Middle-earth dragons
- Comedy: Bob and Ray
- Other: Cryptozoology
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