Komodo Dragons are Back

Komodo Dragons are back at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and visitors can see them in the Asian Forest.

“Our young 2-year-old female dragons arrived from the Prague Zoo where they were hatched,” says Dr. Barbara Baker, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. “The girls will spend some time acclimating to their new home in the Komodo building, before we introduce them to their outside yard. Komodo dragons are extremely endangered and we have an opportunity to educate our visitors about their plight in the wild.”

The females each weigh about 10 pounds and are 58 to 60 inches long. Even as young as they are, they have already started to develop their individual personalities. “One is inquisitive and likes to check out what is going on around her,” says Henry Kacprzyk, curator of Kids Kingdom and Reptiles. “The other female is more cautious. She approaches slowly, watching everything before she decides what she will do.”

Keepers have been slowly working with them on behavioral cues so the pair can develop a trust with the keepers and participate in their own care such as voluntary weigh-ins. “We want them to be as comfortable with us being around them as possible,” says Mr. Kacprzyk. “The girls understanding what we are doing will help to eliminate stress on both the keeper and the animal.”

Komodo dragons are the world’s largest lizards. They can grow up to 10-feet long and weigh as much as 300 pounds. Though they have short legs and are low to the ground, they can run up to 11 miles per hour. Komodo dragons have big appetites and can eat 80 percent of their body weight in one meal.  These big dragons are extremely endangered with less than 5,000 left in the wild. 

Although we are excited to have our visitors meet our new dragons, we are also remembering Noname, our 18 and ½-year-old dragon who passed away earlier this year.