5 Fun Facts About Komodo Dragons

January 08, 2014

Guests on International Expeditions’ new Bali tours will certainly expect to see famed Komodo dragons during their Indonesia cruise, which includes Komodo National Park. Here are five fun facts that you may not know about the world’s largest living lizard species.

Sight or Bite? Komodo dragons can see objects as far away as 980 feet. And while they do use their keen sense of sight to hunt, they are far more reliant on their sense of smell to hunt. Of course, patience helps too! A Komodo dragon’s prey typically succumbs to the 50 strains of bacteria in its saliva within 24 hours, and the lizards may often follow dying prey for miles.

Leave No Trace. Komodo dragons eat much more efficiently than other large carnivores, eating the bones, hooves and swaths of hide of their prey

Faster Than You Think. Although these lizards grow to approximately 10 feet long and weigh around 155 pounds, they can easily reach speeds of 12 mph. Plus, they’re faster when hunting!

104 Years Old? Although fossils similar to today’s Komodo dragons date back 3.8 million years, the dragons were first recorded by Western scientists just over a century ago in 1910.

King Komodo. After American Museum of Natural History trustee W. Douglas Burden led an expedition to capture dragons in 1926, he returned with 12 preserved specimens and two live lizards. This expedition to Komodo National Park served as the inspiration for the 1933 movie King Kong — Burden was friends with the filmmaker Merian Cooper. If you are ever in New York, be sure to stop by AMNH where you can still view three of his original specimens.