7 Unbelievable Facts
About Komodo Dragons
- Inspiration for King Kong. In 1926, William Douglas Burden set sail with a team of adventurers to capture the mythical Komodo dragon. Other explorers had already confirmed the existence of these ‘land crocodiles’ in the East Indies, but none of the animals had been brought to the west alive. William Douglas Burden did manage to capture 2 Komodo dragons alive, that were debuted at the Bronx Zoo and attracted tens of thousands of captivated visitors. Burden’s friend, the filmmaker Merian Cooper, injected elements of Burden’s adventurous trip into his then-upcoming movie, King Kong (1933).
- Reproduction without partner. Even without partners, female Komodo dragon can produce eggs. Interestingly, all hatchlings from eggs without outside fertilisation are males. It has been hypothesised that this reproductive adaptation allows a single female to enter an isolated ecological niche (such as an island) by establishing a sexually reproducing population with her male offsprings.
- Short Age in Captivity. While Komodo dragons can live up to 30 years in the wild, they only live a few years in captivity.
- Two Penises. Male Monitor Lizards, a close relative to Komodo dragons, have a double penis that are often used in alternation.
- Cannibalism Ten percent of their diet is made of newly hatched Komodo dragons. Young Komodo dragons therefore dwell in trees, safe from cannibalistic adults who are less proficient in climbing trees than the young dragons.
- Very sensitive tongue. With their tongue, they are able to locate carcasses of dead or dying animals that are located up a distance of 9.5 km (5.9 mi).
- Komodo Dragons Avoid Humans. Unlike anecdotes of unprovoked Komodo dragon attacks – often from unreliable sources or caused by defensive attacks – Komodo dragons avoid encounters with humans. Juveniles are very shy and will flee quickly into a hideout if a human comes closer than about 100 metres (330 ft). Older animals will also retreat from humans from a shorter distance away. If cornered, they will react aggressively by gaping their mouth, hissing, and swinging their tail. If they are disturbed further, they may start an attack and bite.
Note: Because Komodo dragons can lay very still up to the point they look asleep or even dead, unaware visitors can get very close for a picture/selfie – this could trigger a dangerous, defensive attack. Therefore, always follow the strict guidelines from rangers and keep a safe distance at all times.
The Ultimate Guide to Flores & Komodo
Would you like to see Komodo dragons yourself? Read about the Komodo Boat Tours by Local Guides and meet the Komodo dragons in Komodo- and Rinca Island, as you snorkel and trek around the majestic landscapes and fascinating underwater world around Komodo National Park!