Raja is the first Komodo Dragon at Perth Zoo. Photo: Daniel Scarparolo/Perth Zoo At just 2.1 kilograms Raja still has a lot of growing to do. Photo: Daniel Scarparolo/Perth Zoo
He may not look very scary now, but Perth Zoo’s newest resident has a fearsome reputation.
The young Komodo Dragon will grow to about the size of an adult human- 70 kilograms- in the next five years.
With a mouthful of long, curved, serrated teeth, one or two bites from an adult Komodo Dragon is enough to bring down a deer.
And if size was not enough, its venom induces shock and stops the prey’s blood from clotting.
Komodo Dragons are the largest lizards in the world but at only 18 months old and just 2.1 kilograms, young Raja still has a lot of growing to do.
It is the first time a Komodo Dragon has been on display at Perth Zoo.
Perth Zoo operations curator John Lemon said as well as their fearsome reputation, Komodo Dragons have some pretty cool traits.
“To survive during long periods of low prey density they can eat up to 80 per cent of their own body weight at a time,” he said.
“And their keen sense of smell enables them to locate food from as far away as 10 kilometres if the wind conditions are right.”
In the wild, Komodo Dragons are found on a handful of Indonesian Islands.
The largest of these is Komodo Island, which is where they get their name.
They are the dominant predator on the islands, using their lumbering yet powerful bodies to bring down prey ranging from water buffalo to lizards and chickens.
They lie in wait until their prey comes near and then launch a surprise attack.
“Unfortunately, just like the dragons of myth and legend, many Komodo Dragons have been slain – or poached – for their meat or the illegal pet trade,” Mr Lemon said.
There are believed to be only 3000 to 5000 Komodo left in the wild.
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