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Komodo Dragons – Modern Relatives of Giant Lizards

The Komodo dragon, also known as the Komodo monitor, is the largest lizard of our time. Moreover, this is not a harmless lizard that feeds on grass and fruits, but a real cruel predator. On account of the Komodo monitor lizards, dozens of killed people arrive every year.

This miracle lives on only a few small islands in Indonesia. Recently, its range has been shrinking, dragon hunters are actively killing monitor lizards.

The monitor lizard is really large – the average length of adults is 2-3 meters, and the weight is 30-70 kg. But there are also giants weighing more than a centner. Interestingly, during a meal, Komodo dragons can double their weight.

The largest animals of their islands – wild boars, buffaloes, and horses – become the basis of the diet of monitor lizards. Yes, southern dragons do not disdain cannibalism and will devour a weaker relative without problems. The prey can be ten times larger than the monitor lizard – it does not bother it at all.

The monitor lizard sneaks up on the intended victim and hits the legs with a heavy tail. Such a blow simply grinds the bones of the legs, and to finish off the helplessly lying prey is a matter of technique. If it is not possible to overwhelm the object of the hunt the first time, the monitor lizard will circle around it, trying to inflict lacerations and tearing the tendons.

Previously, there was a version that the saliva of monitor lizards contains a huge amount of pathogenic bacteria that are completely harmless to the host, and the victim from the slightest bite causes death from sepsis. But now it is known that they do not have any harmful bacteria in their mouths, but the bite of a monitor lizard is poisonous. True, the poison is rather weak and does not play a role in hunting, according to scientists, the monitor needs it to digest food.

The question of procreation is also raised among dragons on a proper scale. For the female, monitor lizards fight beautifully and cruelly – huge males stand on their hind legs and begin to tear each other in full. The loser crawls away from the place of the fight, usually with many wounds.

The female lays up to 20 eggs in a pile of rotting vegetation. This technology is used by many reptiles. Indeed, when rotting, heat is released and a kind of incubator for cold-blooded monitor lizards is obtained. And the female also carefully stores its clutch.

Young monitor lizards are forced to behave very quietly and modestly for the first ten years, hiding in trees and feeding on insects and birds. Lead in childhood, they are small and weak enough and represent an excellent delicacy for large relatives who are able to live up to 60 years.

And one more interesting fact. The ancestors of the Komodo monitor lizards came to the islands from Australia 3-4 million years ago. And on the continent, there were relatives – megalania (7-9 meters long). So, monitor lizards in those days were also much larger, they just had to adapt and the effect of island dwarfism worked, evolution made the Komodo dragons shrink!

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