Do Dragons still exist ?  Yes they do.   In the Australasia pavilion at the Toronto Zoo, you will find 18 year old male Komodo Dragon, Kilat.  Komodo dragons are the largest and heaviest of the lizards and can grow up to 3.5 meters and weigh up to 135 kg.  They are found on only 5 islands in Indonesian and are considered endangered.    Komodo Dragons are at the top of their food chain – which means they hunt everything and nobody hunts them – except humans.  Komodo’s can take down goats, pigs, wild boar, water buffalo, deer and smaller dragons.   They have sharp teeth and long claws as well as venom and deadly bacteria in their mouth, which causes blood poisoning in their wounded prey.  Komodo dragons themselves are immune to the toxins.   

Komodo dragon females lay 15 – 30 leathery eggs in a nest built of twigs and dirt, about one month after mating.  The eggs are usually laid in September and hatch the following April.  Dragons are not what we would call “good parents”.   Baby Komodo Dragons scurry up into the trees to escape predatory adults where they feed on insects, eggs, birds and snakes.

When their size makes tree life no longer feasible, they become terrestrial and forage on the ground where they are very vulnerable. Small Komodo dragons have been known to roll around in their feces – because if they smell like poop they will not smell like food.   Those that survive continue to grow throughout for the next 30 – 50 years to become real Dragons.   

At time of writing the Toronto Zoo is closed due to Covid.  When it opens, be sure to visit Kilat in the Australasia Pavilion.  He is truly a dragon.

***Last month we ran a story about Emarah the Cheetah.   As a follow up to that story – it is now official – Emarah is pregnant with 4 cubs which are expected around the end of January.  Follow the Toronto Zoo on Facebook or Instagram to get the latest news.