By MIREYNNA HERNANDEZ, age 10
The komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis, is the biggest lizard in the world. It can grow up to 10 feet in length and weighs more than 300 pounds (160 kilograms). The komodo dragon can live to be about 30 years old. Sadly, these majestic beasts are endangered because of natural disasters like large fires, a scarcity of egg-laying females and poaching. Komodos were hunted because they were thought of as trophies and sold to zoos and private collectors.
Did you know?
• Komodo dragon saliva contains more than 50 different strains of bacteria, allowing komodos to infect and kill their prey with every bite.
• Komodo dragons can make a den that will keep them warm during the night and cool during the day.
• Komodo dragons can eat many different reptiles and mammals, including humans.
• Female komodo dragons can have virgin births. This means they do not need a mate in order to lay eggs.
• When they hatch, baby komodo dragons can climb trees to escape predators such as other komodo dragons and even their own mothers.