Friday, February 5, 2010

ABC Wednesday: D is for Dragon

Here be dragons!
Dragons living in the water
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the Australian water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii) - a semiaquatic agama species, excellent swimmers

flying through the air
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(not my photo, was made by Firereptiles) - a flying dragon (Draco volans) that can glide with those folds of skin that are held open by the ribs and can be folded back into the body

living in the desert
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a bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps)

and really big, dangerous ones, the closest to an actual dragon we can get these days
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A Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) in the London zoo, one of the very few zoos to keep these magnificent animals. They are fast, can bring their prey (anything from small reptiles to horses and water buffalo) down easily with a swipe from their tail and their bite is toxic, not to mention the bacteria in their salvia.
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They are also among the largest living reptiles, up to 9 ft long and the heaviest, weighing up to 150 lb. Like all monitor lizards, they are highly intelligent and unlike other monitors, females can lay fertilized eggs without mating (parthenogenesis). Highly unusual for reptiles, Komodo dragons will play with things they find in their habitat, at least in captivity.

What else does D stand for? Find out at the ABC Wednesday meme

18 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Great post, photos and information for the D day! Love the dragons! Have a great week!

Sylvia

lv2scpbk said...

Nice photo. My grandson would love this. Thanks for playing along for ABC Wed.

Roger Owen Green said...

There was a 1990 movie called The Freshman, starring Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick, which featured the komodo dragon. Liked the film.

Great photos and biology lesson.

On behalf of the ABC Wednesday team, thank you!

Spiderdama said...

Wow, this looks scary! Great shots and D:-)

jabblog said...

Fascinating post! I wouldn't want to be the keepers in charge of the Komodo dragons though. Perhaps if they're well and regularly fed their less attractive qualities are not so obvious;-)

Leslie: said...

One year when I was teaching grade 4, one of my students did a research project on the komodo dragon and it was really quite fascinating! I learned a lot from the kids when teaching!

Dina said...

The flying dragon is fantastic!

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

They do look very scary. My grandson is very interested in all dragon and dinosaur things. A

photowannabe said...

They kind of give me the willies but are fascinating all the same. Think I will stay far away from the Kamodo Dragon. Don't want to become one of its playthings.

Tumblewords: said...

Glad to see the dragons. Your photos and narrative are superb!

Jama said...

We have some komodo dragons in our zoo, and it's a must to see them in action, eating a boned leg of a lamb! they swallow the bone whole and it will disintegrate in their tummy!

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for this very interesting post! In Australia I saw a goanna which was very impressive. I was glad to see it.

RuneE said...

"Hoc est Dracones" as they said on the old maps. I'm glad they are not larger.

Mara said...

I've always wondered whether animals like that would make good pets. Not that I would want one mind, but the mind keeps thinking...

Nydia said...

So wild and beautiful! Loved your post!

Kisses from Nydia.

Sheila said...

Remind me to stay well away from London Zoo! Nine feet long!!

dana said...

They look scary! Good D post!

jay said...

Fascinating! I didn't know they were intelligent, or that they played - or indeed, that they'd tackle such large prey!