The world’s largest and most prehistoric-looking lizard has a deadly bite that likes to be kept hidden. What is the Komodo Dragon all about and why are they so dangerous? Well to start Komodo dragon teeth are razor sharp and their mouth contains deadly saliva.
Komodo Dragons have 60 serrated teeth that are one inch long. These teeth are hidden under thick gums that are sharp, but easily broken. Komodo Dragons lose their teeth often and can go through as many as five sets in their lifetime. Their teeth are meant to cut through flesh rather than crush prey.
To learn more about the complexities of this endangered lizard, from its teeth to its ancestry, continue reading below.
Does a Komodo Dragon have Teeth?
While Komodo Dragons somewhat resemble the lovable dragon ‘Toothless’ from Dreamwork’s How to Train Your Dragon, their teeth do follow suit. Komodo Dragons look like they don’t have teeth, but beneath viscous and fleshy gums lay 60 serrated teeth that are an inch long.
This gives the dragon a loveable appearance, only until they are ready to eat when their teeth make a frightening appearance. Interestingly enough, a Komodo Dragon’s teeth are not visibly shown often until biting through flesh.
Komodo Dragon’s teeth actually face backward, which is the best method for tearing through their meat. This is because even if a victim escapes, some of the flesh is still left behind for the lizard to feed on.
It’s no surprise that Komodo Dragons have sharp teeth, but interestingly enough, their teeth are not the strongest. This lizard’s teeth break frequently and they can go through up to five sets of teeth during the course of their 30 to 50-year lives.
So, does a Komodo Dragon have teeth? The answer is yes! How else could they destroy their prey? Are their teeth easily seen? No, but they are quickly and easily felt by their victims. Check out this video to watch the Komodo dragon flex its razor-sharp teeth.
Do Komodo Dragon’s Teeth Contain Venom?
Not quite! A Komodo Dragon’s saliva is actually what contains that nasty and deadly venom, not their teeth. Science is obsessed with this unique poison because a Komodo Dragon’s saliva contains properties that prevent blood clotting, causing their victim to slowly bleed to death in something as simple as one bite.
Komodo Dragons have 50 different strains of toxic bacteria, making it an interesting process to study. Even better, the study of venoms like these can help doctors and researchers create powerful medicines.
That’s right! One bite from a Komodo Dragon is enough to kill another large animal.
When a Komodo Dragon bites down on their prey, the pressure on top of their gums lets their deadly and painful venom leak out to the surface and into the victim’s bloodstream. Once a victim runs away, they will bleed to death over the course of a few days with a Komodo Dragon following close behind.
This makes them scavengers, killing their victims with minimal effort. Because of this method, Komodo Dragons can kill victims up to ten times their size.
The Komodo Dragon truly takes the term “a slow and painful death” to a whole new level!
BBC Earth Unplugged YouTube channel shows how a Komodo Dragon’s venom destroys the blood’s ability to clot, as well as the gentle nature of some Komodo Dragons towards humans. Check it out below to see for yourself!
How Strong is a Komodo Dragon Bite?
Komodo Dragons have a bite force of 500 to 600 PSI, or pounds per square inch. This is actually quite a weak bite compared to an Australian saltwater crocodile which was a bite force of 3,7000 pounds per square inch. But trust me you still don’t want a komodo dragon to sink its teeth into your flesh.
A Komodo Dragon’s bite force alone is not strong enough to cause a massive amount of damage to a human, but the sharp, serrated teeth alongside their dangerous venom will kill a person in a few hours. Komodo dragon teeth are sharp enough to rip off a smaller body part, however.
If you ever wonder if Komodo dragons eat humans I have written a whole article on that subject here!
How Does a Komodo Dragon Hunt?
Komodo Dragons resemble a snake with four legs, down to their head shape and forked tongue. As mentioned before, these lizards have an amazing smell. A lot of it is thanks to their mouths, where they are able to smell and taste with their tongues.
A Komodo Dragon’s tongue can pick molecules from the air, helping them understand details about their prey, such as the type and location of their prey and other potential meals.
Komodo Dragons have a wide jaw and equally wide bite. Komodo dragons can use their sharp teeth to devour a whole pig (or a wild boar) in less than 20 minutes. They are quick eaters with large bodies. The largest verified Komodo Dragon living in the wild was 10.3 feet long and 336 pounds heavy with an empty stomach.
Another way Komodo Dragons lock their victims in place is through their powerful claws. Their claws act like another set of teeth, tearing apart and dismembering the local and innocent animals. Komodo Dragons also have quick maneuvering skills, so while they may not be the strongest animal in the world, they are tough, quick, and have their fair of sharp weapons.
What Do Komodo Dragons Eat?
These lizards are known to work smart rather than hard. They can also be aggressive, but they are not often aggressive towards tourists because they are so well protected. While humans have been recorded as a meal for this lizard, Komodo Dragons typically eat Timor deer, water buffalo, goats, monkeys, and wild boars.
Any Komodo Dragons under 5 to 6 feet will live a life in the trees in order not to be eaten by their neighbors. As for the young and small dragons, they eat lizards, snakes, and birds.
Although they are little, smaller Komodo Dragons are excellent hunters but will often lose their meal to larger dragons. Sometimes, it is hard being a young carnivorous lizard.
Komodo Dragons Have An Impeccable Sense Of Smell
Komodo Dragons have an impeccable sense of smell. They are able to sense a dead animal that is over a mile away, giving the dragons the advantage to easily stalk their game. For this reason, Komodo Dragons are generally scavengers rather than cold-blooded murderers. The lizards leave their lethal drool to do the dirty work for them.
Because Komodo Dragons are scavengers with a great sense of smell, they will usually engage in a feeding frenzy, similar to that of a shark. Other than mothers and their children, this is one of the few times Komodo Dragons gather together, as they prefer a solitary life.
Using their razor-sharp teeth a group of Komodo dragons can easily tear through their prey.
Where Do Komodo Dragons Live?
Known as ‘King of the Lizards’, Komodo Dragons live natively in southeastern Indonesia on the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Gili Montag, Gili Dasami, and Flores. There are only about 4,000 dragons left in the world, making them an endangered species. Most of the dragons live on the island of Flores.
Komodo dragons have the smallest habitat of any large predator! They live with temperatures that go up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, on top of 70 percent humidity. Some lizards will rest in burrows as homes to cope with this heat. A dragon’s life is a lazy one full of basking in the sun and looking around for food. They also live and hunt alone.
These lizards were found by infamous Dutch explorer Lieutenant van Steyn van Hensbroek. Surprisingly, scientists did not know about Komodo Dragons until 1912, proving to the world there was still more to be discovered.
Komodo National Park
Today, Komodo National Park is the only place in the world where these dragons live besides zoos. The park was created in 1980 in order to protect this endangered lizard. It is located within the Lesser Sunda Islands and even though the park is extremely remote, Komodo Park is a popular tourist location. (Source)
The Komodo Dragon is actually at the top of the food chain on the Lesser Sunda Islands. The real predator of a Komodo Dragon is only other Komodo Dragons! While humans have threatened this species into a vulnerable state in the past, Komodo Dragons are strictly protected today thanks to the Komodo National Park and its rangers.
The park’s workers don’t tend too much to the Komodo Dragons because they want them to live as natural of a life as possible in the wild. However, wild Komodo Dragons get stressed if there is a high amount of tourists, so park rangers make it very clear that humans need to stay away from Komodo Dragons.
Because of the size of the park, low amount of rangers, and high amount of tourists, poaching of local animals is still happening. Most of the local villagers believe that the dragons are and always have been very dangerous, but attacks are rare and the number of tourists that come to the park sometimes limits the poaching that occurs.
Are Komodo Dragons Dangerous to Humans?
Komodo Dragons tend to leave the locals alone and can even be friendly to human caretakers. But it is important to always be careful! Komodo Dragons are known to be unpredictable.
Komodo Dragons have bodies that are extremely durable. These lizards are known to be built like armor and have dragon-like scales with tiny chips of bone that protect these big lizards from their volcanic environments and other Komodo Dragons, which are the only other real predator of the islands.
Humans have threatened this species until a vulnerable state in the past, but today they are strictly protected. A Komodo Dragon’s tail is extremely powerful that can make a grown man fall with just one ferocious swipe.
Local villages and Komodo Dragons live in a tense and slim harmony with each other. From the years 2007 to 2009, two locals, a boy, and a fisherman were killed by Komodo Dragons.
Villagers are known to build their homes on pedestals to keep the lizards from wandering in and looking for food. This has become more common as resources are becoming scarce. Now that we understand a bit about a Komodo Dragon’s teeth, hunting, and living styles, let’s read further for extra facts about these magnificent creatures.
What Else Should I Know About the Komodo Dragon?
Komodo Dragons are considered to be monitor lizards, which are large lizards native to Asia, Oceania, and Africa. But monitor lizards, or Varanus, have an extensive history,
An ancient but famous monitor lizard is the Megalania, or where the Komodo Dragon derives from. Megalania lived in Australia, originating 1.5 million years ago and dying out 50,000 years ago. They are taller than humans and essentially mega Komodo Dragons. There are a lot of gaps in the history of the Komodo Dragons.
While they live in Indonesia today, their ancestry is from Australia. In comparison to other lizards from the Komodo’s ancestral line, the Komodo Dragon is quite small. However, they have all become extinct.
Komodo Dragons also have interesting personalities. They are lazy by day, sleepy by night, ferocious when hungry, and always territorial. These dragons can grow from 6 to 10 feet long and weigh 150 to 300 pounds. Females are traditionally lighter than males and both genders take about 8 to 9 years to fully mature.
Female Komodo Dragons may lay up to 30 eggs that are fiercely protected for many months. Once they are born, Komodo Dragons are only 12 inches. Being this vulnerable, baby Komodo Dragons immediately run away into the trees to avoid being eaten by their own mother or other Komodo Dragons.
It’s a crazy life to be a Komodo Dragon with razor-sharp teeth, poisonous venom, and all that comes with being a cold-blooded killer.