Have you ever thought about a dragon? A majestic and legendary creature, isn’t it. But what comes to your mind when you hear the word dragon? The Chinese folktales, of course!!! But have you ever considered to study deeply about dragons? Maybe not, because although they seem to be intimidating, studying their history and evolution is a long drawn process since they have become extinct from the earth a long time ago. But how about if I say that a dragon is still among us, somewhere in the world, the Komodo Dragon.
Komodo Dragons have flourished in the harsh atmosphere of Indonesia’s Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar Islands for so many years.
Reaching up to 10 ft. (3 meters) long and more than 300 lbs. (136 kilograms), Komodo Dragons are the heaviest reptiles on Earth. They have long, level heads with adjusted noses, textured skin, bowed legs and gigantic, strong tails.
So come, let us explore more about these amazing reptiles!!!
The evolutionary transformation of the Komodo Dragon began with the Varanus genus, which started in Asia around 40 million years back and moved to Australia around 15 million years back, an impact amongst Australia and Southeast Asia permitted the varanids to move into what is presently the Indonesian archipelago, amplifying their extent as far east as the island of Timor.
The Komodo Dragon was thought to have separated from its Australian predecessors 4 million years back. In any case, late fossil proof from Queensland suggested that the Komodo Dragon has lived in Australia before coming to the Indonesian soil.
Komodo Dragons can develop to a normal length of 6.5 feet up to 10 feet and can weigh around 154 lbs. The Komodo Dragons which are kept in captivity may frequently measure more, as much as 365 lbs.
Komodo Dragons are considered the heftiest lizard on Earth. They have around 60 frequently supplanted jagged teeth that can easily measure about 2.5 centimeters long.
Their salivation is oftentimes stained with blood, due to the fact that their teeth are totally secured by gingival tissue. They likewise have a long, yellow, profoundly forked tongues. Their tongue is utilized to distinguish taste and smell numerous different reptiles and they can recognize flesh from 4 – 9.5 kilometers away.
Komodo Dragons have a noticeable ears in spite of the fact that they don’t have intense feeling of hearing.
They can see as far as three hundred meters, in any case, they have poor night vision.
Their scales have tactile plaques associated with nerves that stimulate their sense of touch. The scales around the lips, chin, ears, and soles of the feet can have more or less three tactile plaques.
Discovery of the Komodo Dragon
Komodo Dragons were initially discovered by Europeans when they heard about a rumor of a “land crocodile”.
It was the driving element for an expedition in 1926. A geologist, hunter and filmmaker W. Douglas Burden wants to capture the said reptile and successfully came back with twelve preserved samples of the species and two live ones, this undertaking gave the motivation to the 1933 motion picture King Kong.
It was Burden who coined the normal name “Komodo Dragon”. Three of his examples were stuffed and are still in exhibition in the American Museum of Natural History.
The Komodo Dragons feeds on flesh. In spite of the fact that they mostly feed on carrion, they will likewise snare live prey with a secretive approach. At the point when appropriate prey comes near the dragon’s attacking range, it will all of a sudden attack the creature and targeting the lower side of the throat. It can find its prey by utilizing its sharp sense of smell, which can find a dying or even a dead creature from a distance of more or less 9 kms. Komodo Dragons have been watched knocking down huge deer and pigs with their solid tails.
Animals who escape the jaws of a Komodo will just feel lucky temporarily because the Komodo Dragon spits abundantly with more than 50 strains of bacteria, and within 24 hours, the stricken animal dies out of blood poisoning. The Dragon usually follows his victim or prey smoothly for miles as the bacteria from its saliva started to take effect and using its sharp sense of smell to focus on the body until it dies slowly. A mature Komodo Dragon can eat an astounding 80 percent of the body weight of its prey.
Eating first of their prey are the biggest Komodo, while the smaller ones after. The biggest male declares his strength and the smaller ones demonstrate their submission by using a non-verbal communication and thundering murmurs. The Komodo Dragons of equivalent size may fall back on “wrestling”. Losers generally withdraw, however they are eaten up after being killed by the victors.
Komodo Dragon Population
There is a constant healthy population of around 5000 Komodo Dragons on the islands of Komodo, Gili Motang, Rinca, and Flores. But still, an insufficient number of egg-laying females, hunting, illegal trafficking and natural disasters have brought the species down to an endangered one.
The Komodo Dragon favors hot and dry places and generally lives in dry open field, savanna, scrubland and tropical woodlands at low rises. Komodo Dragons’ burrow holes can measure anywhere from one to three meters wide using their strong and powerful forelimbs and claws.
Komodo Dragon Behavior
Komodo Dragons are usually active during daytime. Though they have demonstrated some nocturnal behavior. They are not sociable unlike other animals and prefers to be alone. They usually meet up only to eat and breed. Despite of their size, they can move quickly with a speed of up to twenty kilometers per hour. The young Komodo Dragons can clambered out in the trees effortlessly with the use of their powerful claws.
In view of their extensive size, Komodo Dragons can moderate and reserve their body temperature by resting in their burrows, decreasing their need to laze and relax in the morning. They normally chase and hunt their victim in the afternoon and just stay in covered areas amid the scorching parts of the day.
The Komodo Dragon mating season happens around May and August. Over twenty eggs are laid in September which are kept in abandoned megapode nests (Megapode – stocky, medium-extensive chicken-like winged creatures with little heads and expansive feet). Eggs are fostered for seven to eight months and the young ones will be hatched around the month of April the following year when there are plenty of insects. The new-born stays in trees to keep them safe from predators and from other grown-up Komodo Dragons.
Female Komodo Dragons have the ability to reproduce without mating. There are recorded instances of captive females that laid eggs without copulation since they have the ability to perform a practice called parthenogenesis when there’s no male around. It means that instead of sperm certain egg cells can fertilize each other.
Komodo Dragons are fully grown in around three to five years. Komodo Dragons are equipped for parthenogenesis (standard the-no-gen-e-sister), a type of propagation in which an unfertilized egg forms into another individual, happening ordinarily among creepy crawlies and certain different arthropods.
Young Komodo Dragons will eat little warm blooded animals, eggs, geckos and other insects. Komodo Dragons are monogamous and will remain exclusive to each other, which is quite uncommon characteristic for a lizard. The life span of the Komodo Dragon is around thirty years.
Fascinating Komodo Dragon Pictures
The Komodo Dragon is an endangered fauna and is on the red lists of the major wildlife conservation societies across the globe. A public park was established in year 1980 to protect its population on islands such as Rinca, Komodo and Padar. There are also some organizations helping to protect their decreasing population.
Komodo Dragons stay away from humans as much as possible. Adolescents are exceptionally scared and will escape rapidly into a safe place if a human comes nearer not more than a hundred meters. The old ones will also likewise stay away from people.
In the event that they are cornered, they will respond forcefully by expanding their mouth, swinging their tail and hissing. And if they disrupted further, they may begin an assault and harm anyone in sight.
Despite the fact that there are tales of calm and unprovoked Komodo Dragons assaulting humans, the vast majority of these reports are either not trustworthy or the attacks are just out of defense.
Volcanic action, quakes, loss of environment, fire, loss of prey because of poaching, tourism and unlawful poaching of the Komodo Dragons themselves have all added to the vulnerable status of the Komodo Dragon.
In 2013, all out population of these dragons in the wild was evaluated as 3,222; declining to 3,092 in 2014 and further 3,014 in 2015.
Population remained moderately stable on the greater islands (Komodo and Rinca), yet diminished on smaller islands, for example, Nusa Kode, and Gili Motang, likely because of decrement in prey availability. On Padar, a previous populace of the Komodo Dragon got extinct, of which the last were seen in 1975. It is generally expected that the Komodo Dragon had become extinct on Padar after a solid decrease of the population of prey, for which poaching was in all responsible.