Size relative to a 6-ft man
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is widely recognized as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species.
At relatively low risk of extinction
Likely to become vulnerable in the near future
At high risk of extinction in the wild
At very high risk of extinction in the wild
At extremely high risk of extinction in the wild
Extinct in the Wild
Survives only in captivity
No surviving individuals in the wild or in captivity
Not enough information available to make an assessment
No assessment has been made
Komodo dragons have thrived in the harsh climate of Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islands for millions of years.
Size and Weight
Reaching 10 feet in length and more than 300 pounds, Komodo dragons are the heaviest lizards on Earth. They have long, flat heads with rounded snouts, scaly skin, bowed legs, and huge, muscular tails.
As the dominant predators on the handful of islands they inhabit, they will eat almost anything, including carrion, deer, pigs, smaller dragons, and even large water buffalo and humans. When hunting, Komodo dragons rely on camouflage and patience, lying in wait for passing prey. When a victim ambles by, the dragon springs, using its powerful legs, sharp claws and serrated, shark-like teeth to eviscerate its prey.
The dragon has venom glands, which are loaded with toxins that lower blood pressure, cause massive bleeding, prevent clotting, and induce shock. They bite down with serrated teeth and pull back with powerful neck muscles. The result: huge gaping wounds. The venom then quickens the loss of blood and sends the prey into shock. Animals that escape the jaws of a Komodo will only feel lucky briefly. Dragons can calmly follow an escapee for miles as the venom takes effect, using their keen sense of smell to hone in on the corpse. A dragon can eat a whopping 80 percent of its body weight in a single feeding.
There is a stable population of Komodo dragons on the islands of Komodo, Gila Motang, Rinca, and Flores. However, a dearth of egg-laying females, poaching, human encroachment, and natural disasters have threaten the species' population.