|July 8, 2013 -
Knoxville Zoo has a new Komodo dragon, and
what he may be lacking in size he makes up for in attitude. The
feisty little male, who doesn't hesitate to show his ferocity with a
dramatic display of tiny, razor-sharp teeth, made his public
debut on July 4th.
Christened "Drogo", the six-month-old Komodo dragon was
hatched at Memphis Zoo in mid-January. Although currently
weighing in at about 8 ounces and measuring approximately 18
inches long, his zoo caretakers say he will definitely grow to match
his big attitude. When fully grown, Drogo could very well tip the
scales at 150 pounds and measure eight feet in length.
Komodo dragons are the largest lizards in the world, and are wellknown
for their ability to take down large prey such as deer and
pigs due to the virulent strains of bacteria in their saliva, which
infects their prey when bitten. These strains of bacteria are more than likely the result of feeding regularly
on carrion in their native habitats, and Komodo dragons who reside in zoos do not have this characteristic.
Research has also suggested that they possess a very primitive venom delivery system.
Komodo dragons are vulnerable in their native range, with only an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 individuals
remaining on the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasmi in the Indonesian
archipelago in Southeast Asia.
Knoxville Zoo is Knoxville's largest year-round attraction. Located off exit 392A from Interstate 40, the
zoo is open every day except Christmas Day. Knoxville Zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of
Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being,
ethics, conservation, and education. Currently, the zoo is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until
4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop onehour
before the zoo closes. Next-day admission is free after 3 p.m. For more information, please call
865-637-5331 or visit www.knoxvillezoo.org