As part of Creatures of the Night,
we are spotlighting animals that are perceived as scary and creepy. Don’t let
their looks fool you, these animals are VERY cool and fascinating. To kick-off
our series, meet Aanjay! One of our very own komodo dragons here at Tampa’s
Lowry Park Zoo. Komodo dragons are the largest lizards on Earth, an adult male
can grow up to be 8 feet long and in some cases adult males can grow to 12
Dragons are an endangered species; they are in severe danger in their natural
environment due to hunting, habitat loss and a shortage of prey. These threats have led to population declines on the few Indonesian islands where they are found.
Young komodo dragons live in trees to avoid becoming prey to older members of the species. They are also much smaller and more sinuous than the adults, allowing them to live in trees. At 8 months, they grow too large to be arboreal and must alter their diet to become terrestrial.
An adult komodo dragon diet consists of a variety of large prey including deer, pigs, goats and horses. Komodo dragons normally get their exercise through feeding. Here at the Zoo, we pace out their calories so it comes to them in one big meal. Mice and chicks are fed to them for about a month, food is hidden in a leaf litter placed on top of a branch to encourage them to move around and scavenge throughout the day.
Check out our select komodo carcass feeding times during Creatures of the Night to watch how we feed these gigantic lizards! Disclaimer: This is the only gore at Creatures of the Night, we will be hanging deer ribs and horse meat in their habitat. You'll be able to watch the komodo dragon as they slowly enjoys their meal.