Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragons are the reptile world's gorilla equivalent – big and charismatic.

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Our Komodo Dragon enclosure, which can be found in the Islands in Danger exhibit, is home to a male, Jantan, and a female, Ora, who both arrived here from Prague Zoo in 2014. They were joined in May 2014 by three female Komodo dragons who arrived from Colchester Zoo.

Komodo Dragons are the largest lizards on the planet - over two metres in length. They're also one of the oldest and look like it too – all knobbly, scaly.

Some of you might think them ugly. But we certainly don't, we think they're fantastic, magical, muscular and mysterious. They can also be gentle, curious and love exploring. We lay scent trails to stimulate their natural curiosity and keep their surroundings really interesting for them.

Our Komodo Dragons also share their exhibit with a number of birds, and hopefully soon with smaller skinks too.

In 2007 Chester Zoo made international headlines, which led to calls from puzzled scientists, researchers and conservationists from all over the world when Flora – a Komodo dragon which then lived at the zoo – reproduced having never named mated; a process called parthenogenesis. It was the first time this had ever been witnessed in the species and has since helped humans to gain a much deeper understanding of the remarkable animals.

We also support Wae Wuul Nature Reserve on Flores, one of the Indonesian isles where Komodo Dragons live in the wild. The project includes educating people about their importance, monitoring dragon numbers, warden patrols and protecting the local environment which is home to a wealth of animal and plant life.

Your visits to Chester Zoo help us to continue funding support for the reserve.

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Facts & Info

Interesting facts

Where they live: Indonesian islands of Komodo, Flores, Rinca, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami, and Padar (not seen here since the 1970’s but reintroduction is a possibility).

Habitat: Tropical monsoon forest, palm savannah and grasslands.

Size: Up to 3 metres.

Weight: Up to 80kg.

Threats: Habitat loss throughout their entire range. Loss of prey species by widespread poaching of deer; the Komodo dragon’s chief prey source. Hunting and persecution. Fires, set deliberately to encourage new vegetation growth to attract deer for poaching

Species Information

Scientific name Varanus komodoensis
Order Sauria
Family Varanidae
Genus Varanus
IUCN status Vulnerable
Roles in the zoo

Research (ex situ): This species is part of applied research that leads to evidence-based decisions regarding in-zoo management.

In situ Conservation Ambassador

Chester Zoo Community Projects: We contribute to conservation projects run by the zoo community that help support this species in the wild.

Education

Interdependence: This species helps demonstrate that all living things, including humans, live in ecosystems and depend on other living things for their survival.

Human Impact: This species helps demonstrate that human activities are causing serious environmental damage.

Partnerships: This species helps demonstrate that we work in partnerships with other organisations to conserve nature and natural resources.

Chester Zoo: This species helps demonstrate that as a charity Chester Zoo’s mission is to be a major force in conserving biodiversity worldwide.

Husbandry Development and/or Skills Training: This is a species for which we’re developing particular husbandry methods to address an identified issue and/or helping to build staff capacity in specific husbandry or field conservation skills.

Visitor experience

Exhibit Enhancement: This species connects visitors with the geographic areas that they originate from and helps develop further understanding of the environmental issues facing the species in those regions.