Komodo Dragons are fearsome lizards that have roamed the eastern Indonesian archipelago since long before humans settled on it.
Due to their isolation, these lizards exhibit a natural phenomenon called island gigantism, where they are able to grow to their massive size due to not having any natural predators in the wild. Over time, they’ve risen to become the dominant predator in their ecosystem.
Here are some more interesting facts about the Komodo Dragon:
This is a natural form of asexual reproduction where the growth and development of the Komodo embryos occur without any sort of fertilization. It is also known as virgin births because the female Komodo Dragons are able to give birth to offspring without the help of a male. This is one of the speculated reasons why the Komodo Dragons are able to survive on an isolated location in the Komodo Islands. It’s possible that the initial population of Komodo Dragons are the result of this parthenogenesis.
The blood of Komodo Dragons has been researched extensively by scientists due to its powerful antibacterial properties. Scientists have even been able to synthesize the blood plasma and tested it on a multidrug-resistant pathogen – in which it was successful in killing drug-resistant bacterial strains, and even some fungi.
The Komodo Dragon is armed with sharp senses to help it hunt prey. They have a good vision that lets them see up to 300 meters and they can run up to 20 kilometers per hour in short bursts, but most notable is their sense of smell. Similar to snakes, Komodo Dragons have forked tongues that let them “taste” the air and then press it against the top of their mouths, where a special organ then analyzes the molecules.
An MRI scan from a preserved Komodo Dragon skull indicates that there are venom pouches located underneath the lower jaw. This has been verified by scientists, and it’s concluded that Komodo Dragons have lethal venom that includes a protein that inhibits blood clotting, lowering blood pressure and induces muscle paralysis.
Another fact of Komodo Dragons is that they are excellent hunters that wait for their prey in ambush sites, from which they will charge at high speeds and aim to attack their prey’s throat. The combination of their lethal venom and sharp claws, allows them to take down prey much larger than their size.