One of The Australian Reptile Park’s famous residents and its largest lizard, Kraken the Komodo dragon, had his annual measuring and weigh-in today. He came in at 2.42 meters in length and 38 kilos in weight which is a great result for the nine-year-old dragon. The health check saw a growth from last year with an increase of 14cm in length and weight gain of 2kg!
Although no animal likes going to the vets, the task is a bit more challenging than your average dog or cat. Weighing the world’s largest lizard species is no easy feat! The Australian Reptile Park engaged the help of Somersby Animal Hospital to weigh him on their giant scales and local vet, Dr Robin Crisman, was on hand to give Kraken a look over and ensure he is in good health. Thankfully, Kraken is growing up to be one incredibly healthy Komodo dragon!
Visitors at The Australian Reptile Park looked on in amazement as Kraken was loaded into the Australian Reptile Park’s van to drive him the to the vet. In addition, employees at Somersby Animal Hospital had a very different morning in the office – it’s not every day a Komodo dragon wanders into your workplace! Staff were on hand and ensured the animal hospital had no other animals around and stood on guard in the car park to ensure there were no any walk-ins. Kraken then returned to the Australian Reptile Park for measuring, impressing the onlookers who were at the park visiting.
Unlike mammals, reptiles don’t actively show signs that they are unhealthy. Reptile keeper Jake Meney explains “Yearly health checks are critical for our Komodo Dragons – as they are reptiles, they don’t actually need to eat that often, so it’s not like they just stop eating when they feel sick. The best way of ensuring their good health is by weighing them and having Robin the vet complete annual look overs.”
Mr Meney continues, “I have to say though, Kraken is my absolute favourite animal here at the Australian Reptile Park, but it’s not always an easy task getting him to the vets! We’re very lucky, and have worked extremely hard, to be able to have the bond with Kraken that we do, otherwise this wouldn’t be as smooth sailing! No one likes stepping on the scales though, we always need to give him that extra time to work up the courage!”
Currently, visitors can see Kraken the Komodo dragon in his Indonesian temple-themed exhibit and as he enjoys his daily walks. Visitors also can get closer than ever before and meet Kraken exclusively in an animal encounter. The Australian Reptile Park is the only place in Australia where visitors are able to walk alongside, meet up-close and take photos with this impressive lizard species.
The Komodo Dragon is the world’s largest lizard. Komodo dragons can grow up to 3-4 metres in length and weigh over 100kg. Found on the Indonesian island of Komodo, there is a stable population of about 3,000 to 5,000 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.
The status of the Komodo dragon in the wild is Vulnerable, which is the status level before endangered, on the IUCN red list. Their numbers are declining because of human encroachment, poaching, natural disasters and a shortage of egg laying females.