Denver Zoo's new animal babies: Four itty-bitty Komodo dragons with teeth that could kill you
Here's to you, Hagrid. The Denver Zoo is hatching dragons!
Dave Parsons/Denver Zoo
In the past week, four Komodo dragons have hatched at the zoo. And the keepers are expecting even more: Four eggs remain in the incubator. Even though Komodo dragons are lizards, and lizards aren't that cute, these dragons are pretty effing cute.
Actually, we take that back. The dragon below looks p-i-s-s-e-d. Maybe he heard us call him cute. Did we say cute? We meant badass. That's b-a-d-a-s-s.
Komodo dragons are the world's largest species of lizard. They can grow to be ten feet long and weigh over 250 pounds. They reside on five Indonesian islands: Komodo, Flores, Rinca, Gila Montang and Gila Dasami.
They have a vicious bite. They have about sixty razor sharp, serrated teeth that can reach up to one inch long. Lost or damaged teeth are constantly replaced. Dragons can go through four or five sets of teeth in their lifetime. Their teeth allow dragons to tear off large chunks of flesh which they swallow whole. If the prey does not die from the initial attack, the dragon follows the injured animal until it dies due to blood loss or infection. Komodo dragon saliva contains fifty different strains of toxic bacteria that cause deadly infections in the prey animal.
Komodo dragons are endangered, with between 3,000 and 5,000 remaining in the wild. They are also rare in the world's zoos. As an island species, they are more likely candidates for extinction due to increased vulnerability for disease, human encroachment, deforestation, competition for food and natural disasters.
"Denver Zoo is only the second zoo in North America to hatch dragons this year and the only zoo in the world to hatch dragons on three different occasions," says Denver Zoo Curator of Reptiles and Fishes Rick Haeffner. "Denver Zoo is committed to being a leader in captive management and reproduction of this magnificent, endangered giant lizard."
Did you read the fun facts, Haeffner? Razor sharp teeth? Poison spit? Flesh swallowing!? Then again, the Denver Zoo does have big balls. Big, poison-spit-resistant balls.