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Komodo dragon

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is the largest lizard in the world, growing to a length of 3 metres and weighing between 80 and 140 kg. It is a member of the monitor lizard family, Varanidae[?].

Dragons have keen senses and are considered one of the most intelligent living reptiles.

They are carnivores and hunt live prey, with a stealthy approach followed by a sudden short charge (they can run briefly at speeds up to 20 km/h). They have a strong bite augmented by severe infection of wounds, caused by the some 50 different strains of bacteria in their saliva.

Dragons eat any animals they can catch, up to the size of wild pigs, goats, and deer, and occasionally including human beings. Over a dozen deaths have been attributed to dragon bites in the last century.

Mating occurs between May and August, with the eggs laid in September. The eggs are protected, but the hatchlings (100 g and 40 cm in length) are not and most are eaten. Komodo dragons take around five years to grow to 2 metres in length and can live for up to 30 years.

There are around 6000 living komodo dragons, restricted to a few small islands in Indonesia, including the islands of Komodo[?] (1700), Rinca[?] (1300), Gili Motang[?] (100) and Flores (maybe 2000).

The Komodo monitor was first reported by a European in 1910. The creatures were introduced to the rest of the world in a 1912 paper by Peter Ouwens, the director of the Zoological Museum at Bogor[?], Java.

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