It’s time to UNLEASH THE KRAKEN! The Australian Reptile Park is celebrating a very special day today; Kraken the Komodo dragon has turned 11 years old. In not your average birthday party, keepers celebrated by treating the exotic lizard to a giant piece of meat, suspended from the ceiling!
Suspending the meat from the ceiling means that Kraken has to work harder for the massive prey item, using his mind, muscles and mouth full of razor-sharp, serrated teeth to dig into his birthday treat. As the world’s largest lizard species, this enrichment activity is incredibly important for Kraken’s mental wellbeing.
In the wild, Komodo dragons will regularly ‘gorge feed’ on large carcasses of meat, using their powerful claws, teeth and neck to rip and tear at the meal. Replicating this natural style of feeding means that Kraken is one happy dragon!
Kraken the Komodo dragon is the Australian Reptile Park’s biggest lizard, weighing in at over 50 kilos. At 11 years old, he still has a lot of growing to do, with some male dragons being known to reach up to 80kg! Komodo dragons can live for up to 40 years, meaning that Kraken could still gain another 15-20kg.
Head Reptile Keeper, Jake Meney said, “Komodo dragons are my absolute favourite animal and Kraken is really special so I couldn’t help it but to spoil him on his special day!”
“To see Kraken engage in those naturalist behaviours as he tore into that meat was incredible to see. He’s getting bigger and stronger every day and it was amazing to witness just how powerful his neck muscles are as he whipped his head back and forth,” Mr Meney continued.
“We have such a special bond, and my highlight of each day is when I get to walk Kraken throughout the Park. Although Komodo Dragons are one of the most dangerous lizard species in the world, we’ve worked hard with Kraken’s training since he was a baby and now, he is totally relaxed as he explores the Park amongst the visitors.”
Kraken worked hard to rip off a huge chunk of meat, eating a few kilos of beef. Because reptiles are so energy-efficient, that meal could last him for several weeks before he needed to feed again.
The Komodo dragon is the world’s largest lizard species. Komodo dragons can grow up to 3 metres in length and weigh up to 80kg. Found on the Indonesian island of Komodo, there is a stable population of about 1,400 Komodo dragons in the wild. The Komodo dragon is a monitor; however, their forked tongue gives them a dragon-like appearance. They are carnivorous predators but will eat just about anything.
Komodo dragons are an endangered species. Their numbers are declining in the wild because of human encroachment, poaching, natural disasters and a shortage of egg laying females. In 2021, the Australian Reptile Park was the first zoo in the country to successfully breed and hatch Komodo Dragons, with Kraken becoming a father of three.
Kraken the Komodo dragon is one of the tamest animals living at the Australian Reptile Park and enjoys a daily walk where visitors are able to meet and take photos with impressive lizard. Visitors are also able to get closer than ever before to Kraken in an exciting, exclusive animal encounter with him. More information at www.reptilepark.com.au