Why do Komodo dragons have scales

Komodo dragon: information about the lizard in the animal lexicon

The Komodo dragon is the largest lizard in the world. He feeds on deer and water buffalo, among other things - and does not like to be disturbed during his afternoon nap.

General information about the Komodo dragon

The Komodo dragon, scientifically Varanus komodoensis, is the largest lizard in the world. The animals only live on the five east Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Gili Dasami, Gili Motang and Flores.

Size and weight of the giant lizard

Adult animals from the island of Komodo can grow up to three meters long and often weigh around 80 kilograms. Their weight makes adult Komodo dragons much too heavy to climb trees. Instead, they lounge in penumbra for hours on the ground. And woe to anyone disturbing your afternoon nap!

Their conspecifics on the other four islands are much smaller because fewer deer and wild boars live there and the lizards are less likely to make "fat prey".

What Komodo Dragons eat

While young animals are constantly hungry and prey on insects, snakes and small rodents, the elderly rarely eat. But if they do, then they'll fill up their monitor belly! A full-grown Komodo dragon can plaster a 30-kilogram boar in just 17 minutes. After that, the lizards are almost twice as heavy - and pretty full for the next two weeks.

If the prey is large enough, adult Komodo dragons will even share it - but only if everyone adheres to the order of precedence: the oldest animals eat first. If you resist, you will get a scaly tail or you will feel the opponent's 60 or so razor-sharp teeth.

In the first few years, the young Komodo dragons only watch the feast from the treetops. Because they know: every now and then the old people grab one of them
also as a juicy side dish. From the age of five the monitor lizards hunt mane deer, water buffalo, monkeys and wild boars. Komodo dragons also pounce on carrion at any time.

Reproduction: Offspring among the monitor lizards

The Komodo dragons are not fully grown and sexually mature until they are around nine years old. Then they become more and more like the old ones - and pretty down to earth. You leave the treetops to make yourself comfortable on the sandy ground.

When the mating season begins in May, they fight for the first time for the few females. The opponents stand on their hind legs, prop themselves up with their tails and try to knock over their rivals with their front legs.

Weeks after mating, the females lay around 20 eggs in a burrow or an abandoned bird's nest. Eight months later, the little Komodo dragons stick their heads out of their shells, hatch and immediately flee to the nearest tree. Better safe than sorry.

Newly hatched Komodo dragons are only about 40 centimeters long and at 100 grams weigh as much as a bar of chocolate. The young animals spend the first years of their lives in the mighty treetops. They wear a green scaly dress, their backs and muzzles are adorned with spots in yellow or orange.

Already knew? In order to protect themselves from voracious conspecifics, young animals wallow in the excrement or stomach contents of dead prey. The stench seems to scare off larger monitor lizards.