PHOTOS, VIDEO: Bronx Zoo Komodo dragon exhibit set to open

Dragons are back at the Bronx Zoo.

Komodo dragons are making their first return to the Bronx since the 1950s as part of the zoo’s newest habitat, “Amazing Monitors,” opening this weekend.

The world’s largest living species of lizard, fully-grown adult males can reach nine feet and 360 pounds, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo.

Komodo dragons can consume up to 80 percent of their body in one feeding, snacking on large and small animals alike, including deer, buffalo, reptiles, birds, eggs, carrion and even their own species.

bronx zoo komodo dragon exhibit
Komodo dragon’s saliva contains a toxic mix of bacteria and venom fractions.
Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © Wildlife Conservation Society

Their prey can get a quick death — the dragon’s bite can inflict a “serious wound” and their saliva contains a toxic mix of bacteria and venom fractions. Komodo dragons can also track escaped prey (that are still likely to die from the bite) by flicking their tongues to pick up scents.

“Komodo dragons are one of nature’s most amazing creatures,” Bronx Zoo director Jim Breheny said in a statement. “They are the top predator in the environment in which they live.”

bronx zoo komodo dragon exhibit 2
According to estimates, less than 350 breeding Komodo dragon females live in the wild.
Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © Wildlife Conservation Society

The dragons are native to the eastern Indonesian islands of Komodo, Flores, Rinca, Padar, Gili Motang and Nusa Kode. According to estimates, less than 2,500 remain in the wild with as few as 350 breeding females. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classified Komodo dragons as “vulnerable.”

The Bronx Zoo has three adolescent Komodo dragons, two females and one male, each longer than 5 feet.

The new exhibit, in the Zoo Center building, features three other monitor lizard species. For more information, click here.

bronx zoo komodo dragon exhibit 1
Komodo dragons will be featured in a new habitat opening at the Bronx Zoo.
Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © Wildlife Conservation Society

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


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