When you think of dragons, you probably picture those giant, flying, prince-fighting creatures from fairy tales. But did you know there really are dragons, right here in real life?
Komodo dragons are living, breathing dragons, even if they don’t breathe fire. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t really cool—and fierce—reptiles. Komodo dragons are the largest of lizards, and there are 3,000 kinds of those! And while they may not be big enough to tear down a castle, the Komodo dragon is plenty big—adult males can be 10 feet long. They are ready, willing, and able to protect themselves with their more than 60 sharp teeth and long, sharp clawsThe fingernails of an animal, such as a bear or cat. They help to grab prey. In birds, they're called talons..
Komodo dragons also have some almost-magical secret weapons. They use their long tongues to pick up smells in the air, even if they’re a mile away! And for these dragons, meat is what’s for dinner. They eat pigs, Timor deer, buffalo, snakes, and fish that wash up on the shore. And should a preyNoun: An animal that is hunted as food by another animal. Verb: To attempt to take an animal for food. animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs. manage to escape the dragon’s long clawsThe fingernails of an animal, such as a bear or cat. They help to grab prey. In birds, they're called talons. and short, sharp teeth, the dragon has a back-up plan. It just follows the wounded preyNoun: An animal that is hunted as food by another animal. Verb: To attempt to take an animal for food., because the dragon’s bite contains deadly bacteriaVery tiny plants. Bacteria are so small that they can only be seen through a microscope. Some kinds of bacteria cause disease. Others do useful things, like making soil richer. that eventually kill its intended meal!
You can see a video about one of the Zoo’s Komodo dragons on this website. Is he to be feared or admired?