Komodo Dragon

Varanus komodoensis

Komodo dragons are the largest known living lizards, reaching up to three meters in length. They live in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, and Flores, south of Borneo. There are about 2,500 individuals in total. They have powerful claws and jaws, and a saliva with bacteria which infect and kill the wounded victim a short while after the first bite. They may attack and eat people, being capable of running at a speed on a par with humans. Their preferred meal in their habitat, however, is deer, goat, wild boar, and water buffalo. They also exhibit cannibalistic behavior, often attacking members of their own kind. Komodo dragons are not dinosaurs, simply large lizards (there are no known dinosaur survivors).

The above picture was taken at Minneapolis zoo, in July 2000. The red glow comes from a lamp which substitutes for the sunlight, allowing the dragon to bask under the artificial light and collect the necessary energy in the indoors setting of the zoo.

Subgenus Varanus
Genus Varanus
Family Varanidae
Infraorder Platynota
Suborder Sauria
Order Squamata
Class Reptilia
Subphylum Vertebrata
Phylum Chordata
Kingdom Animalia
Life on Earth