Rare Komodo Dragons Born at LA Zoo - NBC Southern California

Rare Komodo Dragons Born at LA Zoo

Less than 10 zoos in North America have been able to breed Komodos.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rare Komodo Dragons Born at LA Zoo
    Tad Motoyama
    Twenty-two Komodo dragons have been born at the Los Angeles Zoo.

    Los Angeles is home to 22 brand new Komodo dragons, the Los Angeles Zoo announced Wednesday.

    The hatchlings mark the zoo's first success at breeding them. Less than 10 zoos in North America have been able to breed Komodos.

    The first of the new batch was born on Aug. 8. The remaining dragons hatched over the following 11 days.

    "These hatchlings are a result of a lot of work and dedication on the part of zoo staff," said Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians Ian Recchio. "We're excited to be among the few zoos that have successfully bred Komodo dragons. The hatchlings from this clutch will go on to help ensure the survival of the species."

    Komodo dragons, native to only a few islands in Indonesia, have the smallest range of any of the world's large carnivores, according to the zoo:

    Hatchlings are 14 to 20 inches long and weigh about three to four ounces. Komodos, the world's largest lizard, can grow to approximately nine feet, weighing up to 200 pounds or more. Because Komodos are cannibalistic, readily eating the young and eggs of their own species, hatchlings are on their own from the start. In the wild, just after hatching the young scurry up nearby trees to avoid being eaten by the adults. They remain in the trees, feeding on insects and small lizards, until they are too heavy to forage successfully up above.

    The young Komodos are currently off exhibit, but the zoo expects to eventually show off the hatchlings in the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo.

    The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the 134 and 5 freeways. Admission is $14 for adults and $9 for children (ages 2 to 12). The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call 323-644-4200 or visit www.lazoo.org.