New Google Doodle Celebrates 37 Years of Komodo Dragon Conservation

How often should a dragon visit the dentist? Not so often, apparently — like sharks, Komodo dragons' teeth are replaceable.

This is one of the trifecta of bonus facts on Komodo dragons conveyed by Google Doodle on Monday in celebration of Komodo National Park's 37th anniversary. Google's interactive doodle also features a true-or-false quiz with five questions on dragons.Famed for being home to some 5,700 Komodo dragons, Indonesia's Komodo National Park consists mainly of three volcanic islands. Besides its population of eponymous reptiles — which Google also informs us have flexible skulls, and are related to snakes — the national park is home to 72 bird species including the yellow-crested cockatoo and the Timor deer: a favorite snack of the dragon. Its waters also teem with sea turtles, dolphins, whales, and thousands of fish species.

Google Doodle commemorates Komodo National Park's anniversary

Google is celebrating the 37th anniversary of Komodo National Park in West Manggarai regency, East Nusa Tenggara, through its Doodle on Monday.

The doodle, which displays a sleeping Komodo dragon, also contains an interactive quiz titled, "How much do you know about Komodo dragons?", which invites users to test their knowledge about the giant lizard.

After answering five true or false questions, the doodle displays more questions about Komodo dragons, including the location of Komodo National Park, the weight of Komodo dragons and more. Once the question is clicked, users will be brought to the Google search page related to the question.

Komodo Dragons: Man eater or life saver? Google Doodle celebrates the giant lizards

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 37th anniversary of Komodo National Park with an interactive quiz to test your knowledge about its main, reptilian inhabitant: the Komodo dragon.

What is a Komodo dragon?

Also known as the Komodo monitor, they are the largest living species of lizard on earth. They grow to 10ft and can weigh up to 70kg (150lbs) making them a top predator.

They are found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar. There are thought to be around 4,000 dragons alive today so they are a protected species.
The dragons have an estimated life expectancy of up to 50 years old, as long as they are not attacked by others when they are young. Juvenile dragons are light enough to climb trees and find relative safety in the branches.

What's special about the National Park?

Komodo National Park in Indonesia sits at the centre of an archipelago and consists mainly of 3 volcanic islands. The landscape is unlike any other, ranging from dry savanna conditions to lush forests, all surrounded by white-sand beaches and bright blue water.

Although Komodo National Park was created to protect the life of the 1700 Komodo dragons who call it home, the park's scope has now expanded to other native wildlife. In addition to the Timor deer, which is the main source of food for the Komodo dragon, the islands are also the habitat for 72 species of birds, such as the yellow-crested cockatoo. Thousands of fish species swim in the surrounding waters, as well as sea turtles, dolphins, and whales.

Despite the plethora of native wildlife, Komodo dragons are still what the park is best known for. Thanks to National Parks like Komodo, wildlife can continue to thrive largely uninterrupted by human interference.

Are Komodo dragons dangerous?

You certainly wouldn't want to get close to one!

Due to their size, they dominate the local ecosystems, hunting for invertebrates, birds and mammals. Some claim they have a venomous bite given the two glands in the lower jaw which secrete toxic proteins. Research suggests the venom may act as an anticoagulant, similar to that found in some snakes. Others suggest the saliva leads to blood poisoning when bitten, and a slow painful death.

Komodo dragons have powerful legs and muscular tails and can spring or lunge in attack, using serrated teeth to eviscerate prey. They can eat up to 80 per cent of their body weight in one meal.

There have been reports of Komodo dragons attacking humans, in 2008 a group of stranded divers had to fight off one of the creatures.

Did you know...

Their blood could potentially be used to fight super bugs.

Researchers from the University of Virginia have found 48 separate protein-like compounds in the blood of Komodo dragons that ward off bacteria, eight of which can fight off strains of bacteria from drug-resistant hospital infections. It means, in theory, dragon’s blood could be used by scientists to create new drugs.

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