Komodo dragons are the gorillas of the reptile world – big and charismatic.

They’re magical, muscular and mysterious creatures, but 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.

They’re the largest lizards on the planet at over two metres in length and they're also one of the oldest too.

Our Komodo dragon habitat in Dragons in Danger is home to magnificent male, Jantan, a name given to him by our conservation partners from the Komodo Survival Programme, a group of specialists working to protect the species on the Indonesian islands of Flores and Komodo. We also have a small female called Mezcal and three young sisters Sathi, Lara and Mia.

In 2007 we made international headlines, 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.

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Interesting facts

IUCN Status: Vulnerable

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

Scientific name: Varanus komodoensis