The Jakarta Post
Komodo dragons on Rinca island, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Thursday, March 29. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)
Those yet to visit Komodo and Rinca islands in East Nusa Tenggara might be curious about varanus komodoensis, better known as the Komodo dragon. Here are eight facts you need to know before visiting them, as reported by Kompas Travel.
The Komodo dragon can live for 40 to 50 years. Older Komodo dragons can be identified by the number of small yellow dots near the eyes. The more yellow dots, the younger a Komodo dragon is.
Komodo dragons can run up to 18 to 20 kilometers per hour, or similar to a human being’s average running speed. Their speed is one of their success factors in hunting their prey.
Love to sunbathe
These cold-blooded reptiles love to sunbathe to help them digest their food. This means that the perfect time to see Komodo dragons is in the morning when they are basking in the sunlight.
Aside from their prowess in the running department, Komodo dragons are also known for being able to swim up to 300 meters. This is how they are able to move between neighboring islands.
Enthusiastic mating season participants
At the age of six to seven years old, female Komodo dragons will be ready to mate. Their male counterparts will be ready to mate at nine to ten years old. The mating season traditionally happens between June and July every year, so if you happen to visit during this period, you will witness male Komodo dragons fighting over females.
When a Komodo dragon hatches eggs, it will guard the eggs for up to two months. A Komodo can produce up to 20 eggs at one time.
After a safe hatching process, baby Komodo dragons will live atop a tree to avoid predators such as wild boars, monkeys and other Komodo dragons. On the tree, Komodo babies consume lizards, birds or mice.
Turns out they're venomous
Until recently it was thought that Komodo dragons had deadly bacteria in their saliva, which helped to kill their prey. However, recent research has shown that the lizards kill their prey with venom, and in fact their saliva contains relatively few bacteria. (asw)
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