Komodos come to the Bronx
“Some people may say that dragons are myth. But that’s not something I go along with. I have some news that might not please ya; Dragons do exist in Indonesia.” (lyrics from the song Smile of the Dragon by ãDani Ben-Ari
The Bronx Zoo is now the home of several Komodo dragons, the world’s largest and most powerful lizards, for the first time since the 1950’s. The animals, which can weigh over 360 pounds and reach more than 9-feet in length when grown, can be seen at the Zoo Center building beginning this Memorial Day weekend.
Although they have no predators except man, there are reportedly only 5,000 or so Komodos still in the wild, and are now classified as a “vulnerable species.” As a result the Wildlife Conservation Society (which runs the Bronx Zoo) has been leading the Komodo dragon Species Survival Plan and supporting the Komodo Survival Program in Indonesia since 1995.
Komodo dragons are fierce solitary hunters, who (from a very young age) rely on their keen sense of smell and stealth tactics, as well a sudden bursts of speed up to 13 mph to bring down just about any kind of game including deer, goats, pigs, water buffalo and even man, etc. unlucky enough to cross their path. Even those who manage to escape their powerful jaws generally die within a few days of being bitten due to dozens of bacteria species in their saliva which can poison them. It should also be known that very little of their prey is ever wasted since Komodos are capable of eating 80% of their own body weight at one sitting.
Note: Despite the fact that scientists believe Komodo dragons originated in Asia before migrating to Australia some 40 million years ago, they have only been “known” to man for approximately a 100 years. It is also believed that they first migrated to (what is now) Indonesia when Australia collided with Southeast Asia some 15 million years ago.
The Bronx Zoo is located at 2300 Southwrn Blvd., Bronx, NY 10460. For more information call 718 220-5100.