In March 1980, Komodo National Park was decreed to be under protection by the central government of Indonesia through the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Natural Conservation of the Ministry of Forestry. That is a mouthful, but important to the preservation of the largest known lizard, the Komodo Lizard, which has come to be known as the “Komodo Dragon”. The preservation is home to more than just the Komodo Dragon, but it is a fascinating species existing nowhere else in the world outside of captivity. They are aggressive, both in behavior and appearance, which is part of how they got their known name. They can grow to be almost 10 feet long and about 300 pounds with the largest verified being 10.3 feet, and weighing 366 pounds, however the ones in the wild don’t normally weigh as much.
There are several other fascinating facts about the Komodo Lizard, especially when it comes to their yellow forked tongue, and reproduction. Their tongue is used as a sense of smell, even knowing if their “dinner” is coming from the left or right, which you can read in detail in the Smithsonian’s National Zoo website. The tongue has several types of bacteria, with at least seven of the strains being septic, which help break their food down, and also cause infections in any prey lucky (or really unlucky) enough to escape. As for reproducing, it was believed that a female lizard could reproduce without a male fertilizing the eggs, and was confirmed in 2006 at Chester Zoo when a female lizard laid 11 viable eggs without having contact with a male. These reptiles really are amazing creatures. Here is a video from National Geographic that shows them biting their prey, and is pretty graphic with the eating of it, so please be aware and only watch if you are comfortable with viewing, otherwise please do not view it, and just trust me when I say they are fascinating.