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Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) Fact Sheet: Summary

Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)

Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) Fact Sheet

komodo dragon

Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.


Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia - reptiles

Order: Squamata - amphibians, lizards, snakes

Family: Varanidae - monitors, monitor lizards

Genus: Varanus

Species: Varanus komodoensis - Komodo dragon

Body Weight
Male: up to 90 kg (198 lb)
Female: up to 70 kg (154 kg)

Body Length
Male: 3 m (10 ft)
Female: 2 m (6.6 ft)

Gray or clay colored skin as adults. Brighter, speckled skin when younger. Distinctive light yellow tongue.

Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology

Five islands in Indonesia, including Komodo

Flat savanna, rocky valleys, beaches

IUCN Status
Vulnerable (1996 assessment) (World Conservation Monitoring Center 1996)

CITES Appendix
Appendix I (UNEP 2018)

Other Designations
Protected under Indonesian Law

Population in Wild
5,700 individuals (all islands combined); approximately 2,500 in Komodo National Park

Body, head, and tail undulate from side-to-side when walking. Hold tail and body rigid when running. Good swimmers, like other monitor lizards. Climb trees as youngsters.

Activity Cycle
Primarily diurnal. Activity peaks during mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Spend most time thermoregulating and sleeping.

Social Groups
Solitary. Interact with one another only during breeding or at feeding/carcass sites.

Wide carnivorous diet. Feed on carrion and hunt animals along game trails.


Reproduction & Development Species Highlights

Sexual Maturity
5-7 years of age

2.5-8 months

Clutch Size
1-30 eggs (18 is average)

Hatching Weight
80 g (2.8 oz)

About 30 years

Feature Facts

  • The world's largest living lizard
  • One of the few venemous lizards
  • Chain mail-like skin, covered with protective scales
  • Young Komodo dragons live in trees; eat insects
  • Very small home ranges
  • Able to eat a lot of food very quickly!
  • Sharp, curved claws for digging
  • Hissing produce to defend food and by females during mating
  • Habitat loss poses the greatest conservation threat
  • The San Diego Zoo received its first Komodo dragons in 1963

About This Fact Sheet

© 1998-2018 San Diego Zoo Global. Population estimates updated Aug 2018.


How to cite: Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) Fact Sheet. c1998-2018. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. komododragon
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)


Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

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