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Goannas Monitors and Earless Monitor: Varanidae

Komodo Dragon (varanus Komodoensis): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: A thick-bodied animal, the Komodo dragon is the world's heaviest lizard. It can reach a weight of 330 pounds (150 kilograms) and a length up to 9.9 feet (3 meters) from snout to tail tip.

Geographic range: They live on a few Indonesian islands, including Komodo.

Habitat: Komodo dragons can live in dry or moist habitats and are good enough swimmers to spend some time in the water.

Diet: They are meat eaters, dining on deer, pigs, other mammals, lizards, and birds. The juvenile diet includes insects, bird and turtle eggs, and carrion.

The Komodo dragon is the world's heaviest lizard. It can reach a weight of 330 pounds (150 kilograms) (Erwin & Peggy Bauer/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Komodo dragons are active during the day, when they do their hunting. They either walk around looking for food or hunt by ambush. Juveniles are good climbers, but adults are too large to climb and stay on the ground. The mating season runs from May to August. In September, the females begin laying their eggs in burrows. The average nest contains about eighteen eggs, but some females can lay as many as three dozen at a time. The young hatch in March and April. When they reach eight or nine years old, they are ready to mate and become parents themselves.

Komodo dragons and people: Most people know of Komodo dragons from the zoo. Humans may find use for these lizards, because their blood contains special substances, called antibodies (AN-tee-BA-dees), that may someday help fight health problems in people.

Conservation status: Because the number of Komodo dragons is small, and they live in a very small area where their habitat is disappearing, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) considers these lizards to be Vulnerable, which means that they face a high risk of extinction in the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers the lizards to be Endangered, which means that they are in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range. ∎

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Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesGoannas Monitors and Earless Monitor: Varanidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Monitors, Goannas, Earless Monitor, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT