THE KOMODO DRAGON: THE FIRE WITH VENOM

THE LARGEST LIZARD ON EARTH HAS NO FEAR

It is not enough to admit that I am impressed by Komodo Dragons, since I found out that they do not have fear from humans and they do not show any hesitation to start the conflict, if necessary. In other words, those interesting creatures are modern dragons but their fire could be lethal for people.

What do we know about those big lizards so far ? They are the largest lizards that live currently on Earth because they could grow up to 3 meters( 10 feet) and can reach the weight up to 70 kg (150 pounds). Indeed, they do not fly or launch the fire when they are endangered but the world of the Komodo dragons is enough thrilling and admirable. They are known to be located in the rough setting of  Indonesia´s Lesser Sunda Islands due to the tropical forests and its climate but they could be found in some other islands too. In spite of fact that they look very athletic and active, those lizards are not so interested in changing locations and habitats. They like to stay close to their chosen home and they walk some miles only when they need food or mating. Once a year, when the mating season is on, the female Komodo dragons give off a scent and invite the interested males. There must be some kind of chemistry, otherwise, the breeding wont happen. The Komodo dragon mom has about 30 eggs that come to the world, after eight months, buried in the earth. If there are no enough males, that is also not a problem for females since this species has both male and female sex chromosomes, so the females can reproduce asexually in so called pathogenesis process.

I find refreshing the information that the Komodo dragons have not always been connected with Indonesia because their fossils have been found in Australia. Varanus komodoensis has moved to Indonesian Islands 900,000 years ago. However, this animal is targeted as vulnerable to extinction and there are studies that work on establishing their position in wildlife. So, no, those majestic dragons aren’t so powerful when comes to the human colonisation and global attack on ecosystem.

These lizards can eat all what is available in the nature. Their diet has a numerous options, from deer, pigs, water buffalo to the insects. They are good and focused hunters that rely on their own gold patience, fast reaction and natural gift for camouflage. The scientist have believed that the bite of those animals was so highly risky and dangerous due to the massive amount of bacteria that is attacking the wounds and body tissue. This is not completely true but it is a fact that microbes in their bites are pretty much negative for the victim. According to some article published by National Geographic, the reality is something else: “The truth, however, was discovered by Bryan Fry, a venom researcher at the University of Melbourne in Australia, who found that the Komodo dragon is indeed one of the few venomous lizards on the planet. It wasn’t until 2009 that the decades-long myth of how Komodo dragons kill was finally replaced with the truth, thanks in great part to Fry’s research. Unlike a snake, which injects venom into a victim through its sharp fangs, a Komodo dragon’s venom seeps into large wounds it makes on whatever unlucky animal it attacks. The animal may escape the grip of the dragon, but it won’t escape the venom that will eventually bring it down. By then, the Komodo dragon will be not far behind, tracking down its fleeing victim with its keen sense of smell.” Our dragon looks great, it is fierce and has a big appetite that need to be matched. The studies claim that the adult Komodo dragon can eat up to 80% of its own weight just for one meal, so it doesn’t surprise that they dare to hunt large prey but then, that could be just once a month. The problem for baby Komodo dragons is that once they are outside, they are also on the menu for the grown up lizards. The Komodo dragons don’t worry about their population but about their food so if the little one is somewhere exposed, it could end up like a snack. This is why the offspring usually hide in facial material because majestic lizards try to avoid that in their ritual hunting walk. Sometimes, they even grab the graves to find carcass, which is not always nice when some tribal folks are around and need to protect their buried family members.

Those beautiful lizards are 100% muscles , they are furious and fast but also very playful. There have been some experiments with them in wildlife parks and centres for lizard studies and it has been almost amazing to watch them enjoying the play. It was like a dog entertainer since they react on balls, toys and other sweet and tricky ideas. The animals have represented the intelligence for making a difference between pure food and survival and fun and joy. This should tell us more about their brilliant minds that are usually underestimated and turned into malign tales about them being obsessed with humans and how to hurt them. As always, it is ridiculous. They can harm people and that is the fact we need to accept but I don’t believe they would do it, without being disturbed by humans or endangered. The prevention is better than sanction so please avoid any encounter with Komodo dragons, which means do not go alone in the Komodo Islands, not for any kind of adventure. There havent been many fatal attacks but they could develop because the borders between dragons and people are merging lately and also the prey and hunting landscape. You cant expect that this merging of habitats will be surely successful, especially if you have specific lizards that are used to be dominant in their primmer surroundings. We should ensure their privacy and their own territory, to be able to avoid any harmful conflict and lethal outcomes.

Their beauty is outstanding but even more, their unique personality. They are living dragons of our sad, big world and they need to be protected as such.

2 thoughts on “THE KOMODO DRAGON: THE FIRE WITH VENOM

  1. Sarah’s informative and invaluable article induced me to ponder the evolution of the lizard…

    Komodoensis share a common ancestor with dinosaurs, but do not descend from dinosaurs in a direct DNA manner: during the first million years of the aftermath of the asteroid impact of 66 million years ago, various small creatures (including lizard-like organisms) survived by dwelling beneath the surface of the planet. Some of these branched into Lepidosauria (e.g. lizards and snakes).

    The local peoples of Komodo Island in Indonesia refer to the Komodo Dragon as ‘ora, buaya darat’ (i.e. land crocodile).

    The genus, Varanus, first emerged in Central Asia c. 40 million years ago. Gradually, it proliferated and expanded its range to encompass South East Asia and The Antipodes, where the absence of competitors allowed the variant to become larger. The tectonic-borne collision of The Antipodes and South East Asia c. 15 million years ago permitted the movement of the variant between islands…

    Recent fossil records in Queensland, Australia, reveal that the Komodo Dragon actually evolved first in The Antipodes before migrating northwards, c. 4 million years ago. Also, a study undertaken in 2021 demonstrated that during The Miocene Epoch (23-5 million years ago), the variant mated with the sand monitor of Australasia, and a hybrid variant evolved. The respective natural environments/ecosystems influencing the evolution…

    After the last Ice Age, the Komodo Dragon became isolated in The Indonesian Archipelago, due to rising sea levels.

    Like

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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !