Image: © ZSL
The Animal Facts Editorial Team
May 24, 2023 9:25 pm
ZSL London Zoo have a new mother of dragons with Khaleesi the Komodo Dragon moving to the capital from Paignton Zoo. Unlike her name sake she is unable to fly and was instead chauffeured to the capital on May 11th. Her arrival is part of the European Endangered Species Program for this species.
Khaleesi is named for Game of Throne character Daenerys Targaryen, television’s famous ‘Mother of Dragons.’
London Zoo’s Dragon Keeper Joe Capon said: “We’re really pleased with how well Khaleesi is settling in at the zoo’s Attenborough Komodo Dragon House; a temperature-controlled biome designed to recreate the hot, rocky Indonesian islands where the species are found in the wild.”
“Khaleesi is an alert, curious lizard, and has been busy exploring since her arrival – in particular, by digging some pretty impressive burrows on the sandy shoreline.”
Komodo Dragons are the largest species of lizard on Earth measuring up to 2.5m (8.2ft) long.
Using their 60 sharp, serrated teeth they can eat as much as 80% of their body weight in a single feed. Their flexible throat muscles allow them to consume prey such as whole chicken carcasses in a single feed.
Joe added: “Mythical dragons may be able to fly, but these stealthy reptiles have their own super-power: scent. Using their long, fork-like tongues, Komodo dragons like Khaleesi sample the air, before rubbing their tongue across the scent-detecting ‘vomeronasal’ organ on the roof of their mouth – which means they can detect potential lunch from up to 2.5 miles away.”
Komodo dragons are listed as endangered in their native Indonesia. They are facing declines due to habitat loss and the impacts of climate change. ZSL, the international conservation charity behind London Zoo. Their team assist the palm oil industry to ensure that populations of threatened species are protected.
Meet the world’s largest lizard, the Komodo Dragon found exclusively on a select few Indonesian islands.
Komodo Dragons have a mildly venomous bite. This allows them to subdue prey as large as a water buffalo or deer which they will bite and then wait for it to succumb to the effects of the venom.
Image: © ZSL
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