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Junior Taamas
, Nigeria.
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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

Here are the top 10 facts about Komodo

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

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

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 lower than 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

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!

Continue reading below

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.
George H. W. Bush received a Komodo dragon as a gift.

About halfway through his four-year term, the
then-President Bush Sr. was gifted a male
Komodo dragon by the name of Naga from the
Indonesian government.

Despite the temptation to let him run amok in
the Oval Office, Bush Sr. decided to donate
him to the Cincinnati Zoo.

Naga lived until the ripe age of 24, and sired
over 32 little baby Komodo dragons. He was
one of Cincinnati Zoo’s top attractions getting
a million visitors a year – and he even went on
tour as a conservation officer in 1995!

Female Komodo dragons can reproduce sexually and a-sexually.

In 2006, a female Komodo dragon called Flora
in London’s Chester Zoo laid 25 eggs – 11 of
which were viable for hatching – after living in
captivity alone and never coming into contact
with a male Komodo dragon.

This is because of something called
“parthenogenesis” and it works something like
this: with no males around, and in lieu of
sperm, certain egg cells fertilize each other
meaning an embryo is created and Komodo
dragons can experience “virgin births”.

Komodo dragons are actually quite speedy.

Despite being huge beasts weighing up to 198
lbs and 10ft in length, Komodo dragons can
run at speeds up to 13 mph (20 km/h) when

This is something they use quite often when
hunting in the wild. They will stalk up to their
prey slowly, or lie in wait for passing animals,
then burst forward at them in a sharp sprint.

All it takes is one bite from the Komodo
dragon and it can wait for its prey to succumb
to the venom.

Then all that’s left is for the Komodo dragon
to use its incredible sense of smell to track
down the carcass – albeit before other Komodo
dragons get to it!

Komodo dragons have only killed 4
people since the 1970’s.

Despite their bad rep as vicious man-eating
beasts, Komodo dragons are responsible for
hardly any fatalities at all. Mortal encounters
were documented in 1974, 2000, 2007 and

The last Komodo dragon fatality occurred in
2009 when a man fell from an apple tree and
was passed out below it. Two Komodo dragons
mauled the unconscious man before people
nearby intervened. Although the man was
rushed to hospital, he later died from his
However it is no myth that Komodo dragons
will dig up and eat buried human bodies.

Therefore the natives who share their lands
with the Komodo dragons tend to pile rocks
over the burial sites of loved ones to deter
hungry grave-robbing dragons.

Still though, you’re more likely to die from a
risky selfie, choking on a peanut, or drowning
in the bath than you are from a Komodo
dragon attack!

Komodo dragons like to play.

Whilst they may be very fearsome to look at,
these apex predators have been known to be
very playful in captivity. Captive specimens
have been seen playing with everyday objects
like shoes and shovels, or toys like Frisbees and

A study was conducted on a captive Komodo
dragon called Kraken at the Smithsonian
National Zoological Park after it started acting
weird towards zoo workers. She was observed
tugging at shoe laces with her teeth, or gently
pulling objects out of peoples’ pockets.

The zoo keepers decided to introduce items
into her enclosure, like boxes, blankets, shoes
and Frisbees – she also liked to play tug of war
with her keepers!

The behavior observed in Kraken was
interpreted as play due to the way in she
showed no aggression and didn’t do it for a
food reward.

She was also able to learn commands, such as
walking to a keeper when whistled, and
understanding it was food time when she saw a
keeper wearing bright colored gloves.

So there you have it, the top ten facts about
Komodo dragons. Not only are they very
intelligent apex predators, but they’re also
fun-loving lizards!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this one; let us know what
your favorite fact was down in the comments!


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