Komodo Dragon: Eating Behavior

October 7, 2011 No Comments »
Komodo Dragon: Eating Behavior

Realwonderoftheworld.com - Komodo Dragon is carnivorous. Although they mostly eat carrion, studies show that they also hunt living prey by sneaking followed by a sudden attack against the victim. When the prey arrives near a hidden komodo, this animal immediately attacks it on the bottom side of the body or throat.

Komodo can find their prey by using a sharp sense of smell, which can find dead or dying animals at a distance of up to 9.5 kilometers.

These ancient reptiles eat by tearing large chunks of meat and then swallow it while the front legs hold the prey. For small prey up for goats, the meat could be spent in one swallow. Stomach contents of the prey in the form of plants are usually left untouched.

The reddish saliva out in large quantities is very helpful for Komodo dragon in swallowing prey. Nevertheless, the ingest process remains long time-consuming; 15-20 minutes required to swallow a goat. Komodo sometimes tried to speed up the process of swallowing by pushing the carrion prey into a tree, so that the carcasses are able to enter through the throat. And sometimes komodo pushes it so hard that makes the tree fall down. In order to avoid so as not to getting choked when swallowing, komodo breathes through a small channel under the tongue, which relates directly to its lungs. Its jaw that can be swelled freely, its pliable skull and extraordinary stretchy stomach allow it to eat large prey, up to 80% of its own body weight in one meal time.

After eating, stuffed komodo dragged its body to find sunshine to bask and accelerate the process of digestion. If not, the stuff can rot in his stomach and poison its own bodies. Due to its slow metabolism, a large komodo can survive by just eating 12 times a year or approximately once a month. After the meat prey is undigested, komodo spews the remains of the prey’s horns, hair and teeth, in lumps of mucus mixed with foul-smelling lumps which are known as gastric pellet.

After that komodo rubs its face into the ground or into the bushes to clear the remnants of attached mucus; the behavior that suggests that Komodo is just like humans, doesn’t like the smell of its own saliva.

In the group, the most large-sized komodo usually eat first, followed by the smaller ones according to the hierarchy. Large male shows the greatest dominance through its body language and hissing; which are greeted with the same language by other smaller-sized males likely to show its recognition of that power.

Komodo with the same size may be fighting, by the way of wrestling-like for lizard, until one of them admits to be defeated and retreated, although sometimes the loser may have been killed in a fight and devoured by the winner.

Komodo’s preys are very various, covering a variety of invertebrates, other reptiles (including smaller-sized komodo), birds and their eggs, small mammals, monkeys, wild pigs, goats, deer, horses, and buffalo. Young komodo prey on insects, eggs, lizards, and small mammals.

Sometimes komodo also prey on humans and bodies excavated from a shallow grave pit. This habit causes the population of the island of Komodo avoid sandy ground and choose to bury the bodies in clay and cover it with stones so as not to be excavated by komodo.

There is also a suspect that komodo evolved to prey on Stegodon, pygmy elephants that once lived on Flores. Komodo has also been observed when shocking and scaring pregnant female deer, hoping that the deer to miscarriage and the fetus can be eaten; a behavior which is also found in large predators in Africa.

Having no midriff, komodo cannot breathe water or licking water to drink (like cats). Instead, komodo ‘scoop’ the water with its mouth then lift its head so that the water flows into the stomach.

Happy Green Travels!

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images courtesy of Parken Zoo Sweden

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