Komodo Dragon is the biggest living Lizard on Earth. And it is the largest land reptile in the world with average length 2-3 meters. This large size is related to the symptoms of island gigantism. That is namely the tendency of the body to behave certain animals that live on small islands associated with the absence of carnivorous mammals on the island where dragons live, and a small metabolic rate of dragons. Because of their size, these lizards occupy the top predator position that dominates the ecosystem in which they live.
This animal is called “ORA” by the locals and is an endangered animal. Because these animals are endemic animals. Endemic means this animal only lives in certain areas. Komodo Dragon only lives on an island called Komodo Island, Indonesia. Komodo dragons including carnivorous animals. And these animals have a rather elongated tongue shape and are forked at the tip like a snake’s tongue. Research shows that the tip of the forked tongue serves to “taste” its food. These animals usually make nests underground.
How does Komodo Dragon reproduce?
Komodo dragons are very unique animals because they have two ways to reproduce. First, by mating (fertilization) between male dragons and female dragons. This method is a way of sexual reproduction. The second way is through “Parthenogenesis”. This method makes the female dragons become pregnant without going through the process of fertilization. However, “parthenogenesis” causes all eggs born through “parthenogenesis” to become always male dragons. “Parthenogenesis” is thought to function to prevent the extinction of dragons.
Many people say, the Komodo dragon is a species of Dinosaur. This can be proven by the discovery of fossils from certain types of Dinosaurs that show the similarity of body structure to dragons. It is estimated that dragons are one of a variety of “living fossils” and historical witnesses to the extinction of Dinosaurs. If this is true, perhaps, it is the reproductive system of parthenogenesis that has caused this species to survive. Now, the population of dragons is very small, and this species has been recorded as one of hundreds of endangered animal species.
KOMODO DRAGON : Anatomy and Morphology
In the wild life, the weight of adult Komodo dragons are normally about 70 kilograms and the largest wild species that ever exist had a length of 3.13 meters and a weight of around 166 kilograms, including the weight of undigested food in its stomach.
Although the Komodo dragon is the largest lizard that is still alive, but not the longest. Komodo dragon has a tail that is the same length as its body. It is about 60 teeth with sharp jags along about 2.5 cm. Komodo dragon‘s saliva is often mixed with a little blood. Because its teeth are almost completely covered by gingival tissue and this tissue is torn during eating. This condition creates an ideal growth environment for deadly bacteria that live in their mouths.
Komodo dragon has a long tongue, yellow and forked. The male Komodo dragon is bigger than the female Komodo dragon. And the skin color from dark gray to brick red. While the female Komodo dragon is more olive green, and has a small yellow stripe on its throat. Young Komodo dragons are more colorful, with yellow, green and white on a black background.
Komodo Dragon does not have the sense of hearing, although it has ear holes. But these lizards are able to see as far as 300 m. Because the retina only has cone cells, this animal seems not so good at seeing in the dark of the night. Komodo dragons are able to distinguish colors but are not able to distinguish immovable objects.
The Komodo dragon uses its tongue to detect taste and smell stimuli. Like other reptiles, with the vomeronasal senses utilizing Jacobson’s organs, an ability that can help navigation in the dark. With the help of the wind and its habit of tilting its head to the right and left when walking. Komodo dragons can detect the presence of carcasses as far as 4-9.5 kilometers.
Komodo nostrils are not a good olfactory device because they do not have bulkhead cavity. This animal has no sense of taste on its tongue. There are only a few nerve endings in the back of the throat. Komodo scales, some of which are reinforced with bones, have sensors connected to nerves that facilitate touch excitement. The scales around the ears, lips, chin and footprints have three or more sensory stimuli.
Komodo dragons were once deaf when research found that whispers, increased voices and shouts did not result in agitation (disturbance) on wild dragons. This was later denied when the London ZSL employee, Joan Proctor trained lizards to go out to eat with his voice, even when he was not seen by the monitor lizard.
Komodo dragons are only naturally found in Indonesia, on the islands of Komodo, Flores and Rinca and several other islands in Nusa Tenggara.
Living in open dry grasslands, savannah and tropical forests at low altitudes, this monitor lizard likes this hot and dry place. They are active during the day, although sometimes also active at night.
Komodo dragons are solitary animals, gathering together only when eating and breeding. This large reptile can run fast up to 20 kilometers per hour at short distances. They can swim very well and be able to dive as deep as 4.5 meters; and good at climbing trees using their strong claws. To catch prey that is outside its range, the Komodo dragon can stand on its hind legs and use its tail as a support. With increasing age, more dragons use their claws as weapons, because of their large size makes it difficult to climb trees.
For shelter, dragons dig holes 1-3 meters wide with front legs and strong claws. Because of the size of the body and the habit of sleeping in the hole, the Komodo dragon can maintain body heat during the night and reduce the amount of time to sunbathe the next morning.
Komodo dragons generally hunt in the afternoon until the afternoon, but still take shelter during the hottest part of the day. The Komodo dragon‘s hiding places are usually in areas of dunes or hills with sea breezes, open from vegetation, and scattered here and there with the dung of the inhabitants. This place is generally also a strategic location for ambushing deer.
Komodo dragons are carnivorous animals. Although they mostly eat carcass meat, research shows that they also hunt live prey by sneaking followed by a sudden attack on their victims. When the prey arrives near the Komodo dragon‘s hiding place, it immediately attacks it on the underside of the body or throat. Komodo dragons can find their prey by using their keen sense of smell, which can find dead or dying animals at distances of up to 9.5 kilometers.
How big is Komodo Dragon?
Komodo Dragon is the largest land reptile in the world with average length 2-3 meters. This large size is related to the symptoms of island gigantism, namely the tendency of the body to behave certain animals that live on small islands. It is associated with the absence of carnivorous mammals on the island where dragons live, and a small metabolic rate of dragons. Because of their size, these lizards occupy the top predator position that dominates the ecosystem in which they live.
Dragon only lives on an island like Komodo Island, Indonesia. Komodo dragons including carnivorous animals. These animals have a rather elongated tongue shape and are forked at the tip like a snake’s tongue. Research shows that the tip of the forked tongue serves to “taste” its food. These animals usually make nests underground.
Is Komodo Dragon a Dinosaur?
Many people say, the Komodo dragon is a species of Dinosaur. This is the proof that by the discovery of fossils from certain types of Dinosaurs that show the similarity of body structure to dragons. It is estimated that dragons are one of a variety of “living fossils” and historical witnesses to the extinction of Dinosaurs. If this is true, perhaps, it is the reproductive system of parthenogenesis that has caused this species to survive. Now, the population of dragons is very small and this species has been recorded as one of hundreds of endangered animal species.
Komodo Island is an island located in the Nusa Tenggara Islands. Komodo Island is known as a habitat for native animals; Komodo Dragons. The Komodo island is part of the Komodo National Park which is managed by the Central Government. Komodo Island is located east of Sumbawa Island, separated by the Sape Strait. Administratively, this island including the District of Komodo, West Manggarai regency, East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. Komodo Island is the westernmost tip of Nusa Tenggara Timur province, bordering the province of West Nusa Tenggara.
On the island of Komodo lives the Komodo Dragons and breed well. Until August 2009, there are about 1,300 dragons living on this island. Coupled with the other islands, like the island of Rinca and Gili Mota, their numbers totaled about 2500. Besides Komodo dragons, the island also has a diverse exotic flora of Sepang wood (The locals called it Nitak Tree). The local residents use it as medicine and clothing coloring raw materials. This Nitak tree is useful as medicine and its fruit seeds are tasty like peas. Komodo Island is also accepted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because it is in the Komodo National Park area, along with Rinca Island, Padar Island and Gili Motang.
How to plan Komodo Dragon tour?
if you’re thinking about how to plan Komodo dragon tour, that means you have planned a trip to Indonesia! That’s double-awesome because there’s definitely a ton of things to do and see along the way. So, you need to get to Indonesia and then get to Komodo Island, mostly the visitors get to Komodo dragon Island from Bali as it is easy to get to Komodo dragon island from Bali.
Once you get to Bali (Denpasar), we recommend you to have one day or two days rest of jet lack, or it is also recommended to have more days to enjoy and explore Bali Island before leaving for Komodo and Flores Island. Definitely do that and make sure you check to see when and how much the flights are from Bali to the airport closest to Komodo Island; Labuan Bajo.
The most important things when you start planning your trip to Komodo Island is; first need to think about time. The best time to visit the Komodo National Park is during the dry season, from April to December. You can trek in the park and see the Komodo dragons all year around. Although between July to November the dragons are less active due to the mating and nesting seasons.
I was there in July and the weather was perfect, hot, sunny and we got to see some dragons. So, overall it was a great experience even being during a quiet month.
Second important question: how long should be your trip to Komodo Island? You can spend two days and a half in the park and it is enough to enjoy the top attractions of Komodo National Park. I would say to do at least a two days trip from Labuan Bajo to the Komodo Islands, then one more day to relax. If you are going to the National Park for some serious diving, we suggest staying a bit longer.