A Komodo dragon walking on a beach

Komodo dragon

The name and appearance of the Komodo dragon is straight out of legend. In reality these are huge, heavily-built monitor lizards - the biggest lizards in the world. The largest accurately recorded dragon was 3.1m long and a weighty 166kg. It was once thought that Komodos used deadly saliva containing toxic bacteria to poison their prey. Studies have now shown that they are venomous. Glands in the jaw secrete a complex mix of toxic substances into a wound made by the dragon's teeth. Komodo dragons are at the top of the food chain on their Indonesian island homes of Komodo, Rinca and Flores.

Scientific name: Varanus komodoensis

Rank: Species

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Map showing the distribution of the Komodo dragon taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Komodo dragon can be found in a number of locations including: Asia. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Komodo dragon distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Tropical dry forest Tropical dry forest
Tropical dry forests, in contrast to rainforest, have to survive a long dry season each year, so the predominantly deciduous trees shed their leaves to cope with it. Sunlight can then reach the ground, so the season that's bad for the trees is good for the forest floor.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status


  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 1996

Classified by: IUCN 2.3

BBC News about Komodo dragon

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