Komodo dragons are the largest living lizards on the planet. They are fearsome creatures with a reputation for being strong, aggressive and deadly hunters.
However, as time has gone on, science and research has showed us that they’re not exactly the man-eating beasts we once thought.
Here are the top 10 facts about Komodo dragons!
Komodo dragons are brilliant swimmers.
When you look at a Komodo dragon, weighing up to 198 lbs (90kg) and 10ft (3 meters) in length, full of muscle and lumbering around the land, you wouldn’t think they’d be natural swimmers.
However, Komodo dragons – much like most other reptiles – are avid swimmers.
Living on a series of five southeastern Indonesian Islands, Komodo dragons have to quite often swim from island to island in the search for food.
In fact, they can swim for hours and have been spotted miles offshore.
Komodo dragons can smell carrion from up to five miles away.
Like other reptiles, Komodo dragons smell through the use of a different sensory system than that of a human. Using their flickering forked tongues, they pick up microscopic taste particles on the air – literally tasting the air.
When the Komodo dragon draws its tongue back into its mouth, the prongs fit into an organ called the Jacobson’s Organ on the roof of its mouth.
This organ processes the scent particles on the tongue, which allows the Komodo dragon to pinpoint exactly what each particle is, and where it is.
For a Komodo dragon, this way of smelling carrion is so refined that it can smell something dead over five miles away and pinpoint where it is.
As you can imagine, this is very useful especially if they have to swim a couple miles to get to their food!
Komodo dragons can eat 80% of their body weight in one sitting.
Komodo dragons are indeterminate growers, which means that they will never stop growing in length or weight for as long as they live. This is a big part of why they have no natural predators.
With a big appetite and always being in a rush to eat, Komodo dragons have been spotted in the wild eating huge meals in one go.
With jaws that are highly flexible and can open very wide, they can easily swallow a medium-sized piglet down in one!
So therefore it should come as no surprise that a Komodo dragon can – and will – eat as much as 80% of its body weight in one go.
To put that into perspective, that’s the same as a person eating about 260 Big Macs in one go!
Komodo dragons are actually venomous.
Due to an observational study conducted in the 1970s, scientists have long believed that a Komodo dragon’s saliva contained a deadly cocktail of bacteria potent enough to kill its prey with only one bite.
However, back in 2009 biochemist Brian Fry from the University of Queensland tested this widely-accepted belief. He aimed to discover exactly which microbes would cause such a horrific death, and was able to collect some swabs from the inside of several different Komodo dragons’ mouths.
What Brian Fry found changed the popular perception of Komodo dragons. Whilst there was a lot of bacteria within their mouths, it was actually lowerthan most mammalian mouths and there was nothing that would cause the rapid tissue disintegration or blood loss associated with Komodo dragon bites.
Fry followed this up by doing MRI scans of Komodo dragon skulls which showed two small venom glands in the lower jaw. Previously thought to be redundant, an analysis of these on a captive zoo animal showed they were most certainly active.
The Komodo dragon venom found in these glands contained a few types of toxic proteins, known to cause the exact effects that have been seen in animals bitten by Komodo dragons.
Young Komodo dragons roll around in poop and climb trees to avoid getting eaten.
Komodo dragons are notorious for not being picky with what they eat, and quite often adult Komodo dragons wouldn’t think twice about eating juvenile ones.
So to counteract this threat, the young Komodo dragons move up trees and become nimble branch-climbing predators until they grow large enough to not be threatened by other dragons.
However, this doesn’t always work, so as an extra measure they make themselves as unappetizing as possible by rolling around in poop.
This makes them smell so bad even the most ravenous dragons can’t stomach them!
Read more: https://www.thefactsite.com/komodo-dragon-facts/