The Fort Worth Zoo announced Tuesday, Nov. 28, the hatchings of 11 Komodo dragons, which are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Upon hatching, the babies were approximately 12-15 inches long and weighed less than half a pound each – or about as much as a bar of soap.
The “mother” Komodo dragon came to the Zoo from Prague in 2012. She is 7 years old, 6 feet long and weighs 26 pounds. The “father” is 7 years old, 6.5 feet long and weighs 44 pounds. Neither “parent” is fully-grown, at which point they can reach over 8 feet in length and weigh up to 200 pounds.
These Komodo’s have introduced an entirely new bloodline of healthy, genetically diverse Komodo dragons into the population, which contributes against the extinction of these reptiles.
Because adult dragons will often eat their hatchlings, the Fort Worth Zoo herpetological team cared for the eggs in the incubation nursery housed inside the Zoo’s Museum of Living Art (MOLA) until they hatched.
Each hatchling now resides in its own off-exhibit habitat, except for one, which is now on exhibit in MOLA, across from their parents’ exhibit.
The news release announcing the hatchlings provided some Komodo dragon facts:
— Komodo dragons are the largest living lizard in the world
— Komodos are found in the grasslands and monsoon forests of the Indonesian archipelago
— Juvenile Komodos are brightly colored
— Adult Komodos are grayish-brown adult
— A young Komodo will feed on grasshoppers, beetles, small geckos, eggs, birds, and small mammals
— Adults feed on eggs, lizards, small animals and larger animals like deer and even water buffalo
The Fort Worth Zoo provides funding to researchers monitoring dragons in Komodo National Park to learn more about their life history and protect them from illegal poaching.