Lizards including the Monstrous “Kimono Dragon”
known as the Komodo Dragon
to 10 ft.
to (and exceeding) 350 lbs.
anything they can overcome. Preferred foods include small mammals,
birds, reptiles, frogs, bird and reptile eggs. Young and smaller
species eat insects; large species may feed on carrion.
is the main defence. Will run, burrow, swim or climb to elude an enemy.
If cornered, a monitor will rise up on its legs, inflate its body, hiss
and lash with its tail. This behaviour constitutes a bluff and if it
fails the monitor will employ teeth and claws.
a group monitors are unspecialized. Versatility is the key to their
success. Most species can run, burrow, swim and climb. The snake-like
body is supported by strong legs, each
equipped with 5 well developed claws which aid in burrowing, climbing
and defence. A protective bony sheath encasing the
brain enable the
monitors to swallow large prey without damaging the brain. Their teeth
are long, sharp and backwardly curved. The long, whip-like tail has no
fracture point and there is no regeneration. It is used both as offence
and defence and as the propelling force when swimming.
leathery eggs are usually laid in pits in the ground and covered with
sand or decaying vegetation. Arboreal species may lay eggs in hollow
trees. Young are born with intricate patterns of spots and bands which
become obscure with maturation. Little or no sexual dimorphism. Life
span of larger species
approximately 15 years.
is the main enemy. the flesh
and eggs are prized as food. They are killed as pests because they
often prey on man's smaller domestic animals. The medium-sized and
larger species are second only to the crocodilians in the quantity of
their leather and are slaughtered by the thousands for their hides.
The Komodo's main
food sources are deer, boars, goats, pigs and, in Loki's case,
frozen rats. The dragon can ingest 80 percent of its body weight in one
sitting. It breathes fire of sorts. Its saliva is toxic and the animals
it does not kill right away die days later from their wounds. The
Komodo follows them to eventually feed on the carcass.
grow to up to 9 feet long. An exceptionally large male can weigh as
much as 550 pounds after a big meal. Females are smaller, growing up to
7 1/2 feet long and weighing about 150 pounds.
the wild, it's up to 50 years, though less than 50 percent of babies
survive to adulthood.
involves touching tongues, rubbing snouts and scraping chins. Six to
eight weeks after the female is too tired to outrun the male, she will
lay 15 to 30 leathery eggs. Hatchlings tend to be 22 inches in length
and weigh less than 3.5 ounces.
dragons eat birds, snakes, fish, crabs, snails, small mammals, pigs,
water buffalo, eggs and sometimes even each other.
teeth are flat and serrated, adapted for tearing into meat. The teeth
break often and are replaced frequently; the dragon may grow as many as
200 new teeth a year.
dragons use their forked tongues to smell. They are able to find
carrion up to 6.8 miles away, and use their tongues to investigate
Komodo defecation sites, which provide them with information about the
sex, size and age of other dragons. When the tongue is retracted, the
tip touches the roof of the mouth where special organs detect the smell
by recognizing airborne molecules.
in the Komodo's saliva
are highly toxic and quickly cause infection, which kills prey after
about 72 hours.
habits: Komodos ambush
their prey by rushing from shrubbery, using their acute sense of smell.
For large prey, dragons often attack the feet and lower legs,
inflicting toxic bites. They have been recorded taking down a
1,300-pound water buffalo. Smaller prey are snapped
up with a quick lunge.
belong to the family Varanidae.
Some are small reptiles of less than a foot in length, while the Komodo
dragon, the largest living lizard, grows to 364 lb. All monitors are
tropical reptiles. They are active lizards, that may
be very hostile, lashing out with their tails upon the slightest
provocation. Even a small monitor can produce a stinging lash with its
claws of monitors are long and sharp. The jaws are very strong. Once
they bite something it is very difficult to get them to let go.
are carnivorous and will devour anything they are capable of
dismembering and gulping down. Species which live in or near water will
readily eat fish.
do not divest themselves of their tails, like some other lizards. Once
lost, the tail of a monitor does not grow back.
The Savanna monitor, Varanus exanthematicus, is
also known as the Cape monitor.
It grows to 5 feet. Its body is olive brown, mostly unmarked. A few
have cross bands on the body; pale spots ringed in dark brown to black
forming the cross bands.
are found in western and central Africa in
open forest and rocky savannas, in hot, arid areas. They bask
frequently and are agile both on land and in water.
The Nile monitor, Varanus niloticus, grows
to 6 feet. It is dark brown-black with pale to yellow bands and spots
forming broken cross bands on the body.
is distributed in Africa except
the northwest. It stays close to water, and can dive for up to one
hour. It is very agile on land and in the water. It is diurnal.
species hold their heads erect on their long necks, which gives them
the appearance of being alert. They intimidate predators by lashing out
with their tails, inflating their throats, hissing loudly, turning
sideways, and compressing their bodies.
are mostly terrestrial, but many are agile climbers and good swimmers.
The tail is somewhat compressed in tree dwellers, very compressed insemiaquatic monitors.
threaten by opening the mouth, inflating the neck and hissing. The ribs
may spread, flattening the top of the body, or the body may just expand
slightly. This makes the monitor look larger than it actually is. It
often raises up
on its hind legs just before attacking. The tail delivers a well-aimed
tend to swallow their prey whole, like snakes. Monitors are daytime
lizards and most species actively search for food. Some species eatcarrion,
giant land snails, grasshoppers, beetles, whip scorpions, crocodile and
birds; eggs, crabs, fish, other lizards, snakes, nestling birds, shrews
between males is frequently observed during the breeding season in some
species. Monitors lay 7 to 35 soft-shelled eggs, usually deposited in
holes in riverbanks or in trees along water courses. The Nile monitor
often lays its eggs in termite nests. There is little or no sexual
dimorphism (difference in appearance).
are 2 inches long with leathery shells. Incubation is 8 to 10 weeks.
The young use an egg tooth to emerge.
we didn’t see any crocs, although they are wild on Pulau Ubin!