The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis ) is a huge carnivorous reptile, the heaviest lizard in the world, and the possibly the largest living species of monitor lizard. It can grow up to 10 feet in length, and 350 pounds in weight. They are found on the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rintja and Padar and have recently colonized the large island of Flores.
Komodo dragons exhibit insular gigantism; although they have a relatively low metabolism, their strength and powerful jaws allow them to remain the apex predators on the isolated islands where they live. Komodo dragons are not "fire breathing dragons" or dinosaurs; they are, however, creatures of impressive size and danger that should be treated with care, as they have been known to attack lone humans when threatened or hungry. Usually they feed upon deer, feral goats, and feral pigs.
Though not actually venomous, they carry many strains of bacteria in their saliva, encouraging severe infections in any bite they cause. Komodo dragons will commonly charge a prey animal, bite it, then follow at their leisure while they wait for the creature to succumb to the infection, which generally occurs within a matter of hours.
Recently, two well-authenticated cases of virgin births through parthenogenesis have been reported for Komodo dragons in European zoos. This ability to reproduce despite the absence of mating partners is a trait commonly found in invertebrates, but has been described in amphibians and reptiles.