Komodo dragons have existed for roughly 4 million years. They are the world’s largest living and heaviest lizards and have been known to thrive in harsh climate. They are fearsome creatures with a reputation for being strong, aggressive and deadly hunters.
Over the years, they have been wrongly perceived as man eating hunters; science and research however, has shown that they’re not exactly the man-eating beasts we once thought.
Here are top 7 entertaining facts about Komodo dragons!
1. Komodo dragons are great swimmers
When you look at the weight, length and muscle of a Komodo dragon, you wouldn’t think they’d be natural swimmers. Not only can they climb and run very fast, komodo dragons like most other reptiles, are avid swimmers. They have been known to swim for hours, from island to island in search for food.
2. Komodo dragons are venomous
In the past, it was believed that the saliva of the komodo dragon contain deadly bacteria potent enough to kill prey with only one bite. However, science have proven that while there is a lot of bacteria within their mouths, this bacteria is not potent enough to cause the rapid tissue disintegration or blood loss associated with Komodo dragon bites. Further research showed that Komodo dragon skulls have two small active venom glands in the lower jaw. The venom in these glands contain toxic proteins which is harmful to prey when bitten by the dragon
3. Komodo dragons swallow goats
Komodo dragons have a massive appetite for meat and can eat up to 80% of their body weight. They never stop growing in length or weight for as long as they live, which is why they have no natural predators. Komodo dragons have been spotted in the wild eating huge meals. With highly flexible jaws, they can easily swallow an entire goat at a go, ramming the carcass up against a tree to aid in swallowing their food.
4. Komodo dragons eat their young
Komodo dragons are known for eating their own offspring. After the eggs hatch, baby Komodos instinctively climb high up trees to avoid being eaten by their mothers or other nearby Komodos. They can remain up in the trees and return to the ground when they have grown large enough to not be threatened by other dragons. They can live up to 30 years old.
5. Komodo dragons are fast runners
Despite being huge beasts, Komodo dragons can run at high speeds when sprinting. This speed come in handy when hunting in the wild. They will stalk up to their prey slowly, or lie in wait for passing animals, then burst forward at them in a sharp sprint. All it takes is one bite from the Komodo dragon and then it waits patiently for its prey to succumb to the venom.
6. Young komodo dragons hide their smell to avoid being eaten
Komodo dragons are not picky eaters, and quite often, adult komodo dragons wouldn’t think twice about eating juvenile ones. Younger Komodos have been found to cover themselves in poop and the intestines of dead animals to avoid being eaten by cannibalistic adults. This makes them smell so bad even the most ravenous dragons will find them repulsive. As Komodos rely on their sense of taste and smell, it is another effective way to avoid being eaten.
7. Komodo dragons have only killed 4 people since the ’70s
Despite their bad reputation as vicious man-eating beasts, Komodo dragons have been rarely recorded to be responsible for human fatalities. The last Komodo dragon fatality occurred in 2009 when a man fell from an apple tree and passed out below it. Two Komodo dragons were reported to have mauled the unconscious man before people nearby intervened. Although the man was rushed to the hospital, he later died from his wounds.
However it is no myth that Komodo dragons will dig up and eat buried human bodies. Therefore, the natives who share their lands with the Komodo dragons tend to pile rocks over the burial sites of loved ones to deter hungry grave-robbing dragons. Still though you are more likely to die from drowning or taking a risky selfie on a mountain, than you are from a komodo dragon attack!