The Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is a large reptile in the Varanidae family of monitor lizards. It is an ectotherm varanid.
The Komodo Dragon has a thick dark grey-brown body with armoured scales. It has short, stumpy legs. It has sharp teeth and a long, yellow, deeply-forked tongue.
It grows up to 300 centimetres (118 inches) in length. It is the largest species of lizard in the world. Its tail is as long as its body.
It sways from side to side as it walks. It can run fast over short distances. When it is young, it can climb trees.
The Komodo Dragon is native to the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang. It prefers hot, dry locations in open grasslands.
It eats invertebrates, birds, and mammals. It uses its long tongue to detect, taste, and smell its food.
It is generally a solitary animal. It is mostly diurnal, active during the day, but it can also be nocturnal.
The female Komodo Dragon lays about 20 eggs in a nesting hole in the ground. They hatch after 210-240 days. Young dragons live in trees to keep away from predators and cannibalistic parents.
The Komodo Dragon lives up to 30 years in the wild.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM