When ranking the lizard species, komodo dragons and monitor lizards go toe to toe in almost every aspect. They are the “beasts” of the category, and if you are not careful, you can easily confuse one with the other.
Komodo dragons are the biggest and heaviest lizard species. However, as aforementioned, the monitor lizards are not far off. With that in mind, we compare their every aspect, from habitation to mating habits and hunting styles. We will also provide a final verdict from our comparisons in the end.
The Physical Attributes of Monitor Lizards and Komodo Dragons
Monitor lizards are popular because of their powerful tails, long necks, sturdy limbs, and well-developed claws. Their bodies are relatively heavier and have long, forked tongues like snakes. Komodo lizards have almost the same physical qualities, only that they are more agile, stronger, and bigger.
Monitor Lizard vs Komodo Dragon: Habitat
As is the case with most lizard species, monitors can survive in different environments across the world. While you can find them in rainforests and jungles, some inhabit aquatic areas and hot and dry regions. Water monitors reign in the coastal areas; the swamps and mangroves form part of their homes.
On the other hand, komodo dragons are more specific about where they live. Only about five islands (4 in Indonesia) can boast of hosting these beasts. They include Rintja, Gili Dasami, Komodo and Gili Montang.
Monitor Lizard vs Komodo Dragon: Mating Habits and Rituals
Monitor lizards usually mate between May and August before fertilizing the eggs in September. Interestingly, the females are generally more aggressive during the breeding season and sometimes fight between them and the males ensure.
Due to the female monitor lizards’ aggressive nature, the males usually approach them from the back, flickering their tongues in a jerking movement.
Komodo dragons’ mating behavior is more interesting: when it’s that time of the year, the female will leave a scent in their feces for the males to trail. When the male locates the female, he strategically licks and scratches her back. If the female Komodo dragon scratches back, it’s a sign that she is ready.
Male Komodo dragons might have to fight over mating partners in some cases. Unlike monitor lizards, komodo dragons are relatively “more romantic.” For the monitors, copulation is almost war-like.
Monitor Lizard vs Komodo Dragon: Hunting Styles and Diet
They don’t care whether their prey is dead or alive; monitor lizards devour everything! Their diet includes deer, cattle, fish, water buffalo, toads, snakes, and birds. Even though most of these species are primarily carnivorous, some eat fruits and other vegetation.
Monitor lizards are good hunters. They stalk and chase down their prey – timing and camouflage are vital for their success.
Since Komodo dragons inhabit islands where they are the dominant predators, they hunt and eat everything. These include pigs, deer, carrion, water buffalo, and even other smaller dragons.
Camouflage is the species’ main weapon of attack. Komodo dragons lie down patiently, wait for prey to pass, and swiftly attack. With their sharp, serrated teeth, and thorny claws, it’s always almost impossible for the victims to escape once caught.
Monitor Lizard vs Komodo Dragon: Lifespan
The average lifespan of a monitor lizard is 20 years. On the other hand, komodo dragons can survive for up to 30 years.
Monitor Lizard vs Komodo Dragon: Venom
Besides strong bites that cause immense pain, monitor lizards have venom that they use to paralyze their prey. However, the poison is not strong enough to kill humans; it is only fatal to smaller animals.
While at it, many people ask if monitor lizards are immune to cobra venom. The general belief is that they are, despite little scientific proof. The most probable explanation is that the monitor lizards’ tough skins are impenetrable by the serpents’ fangs.
Komodo dragons are also venomous. They have venom glands with plenty of toxins. When they bite a prey, the poison paralyzes its muscles, giving the dragons all the time in the world to dine. The beasts’ saliva also contains bacteria that can infect the prey. Komodo dragons can kill animals as big as water buffalos.
The Final Verdict
Even though monitor lizards do their best to match Komodo dragons, they still fall short. There are many reasons why people consider Komodo dragons as the biggest, heaviest, and deadliest of the lizard species.
Apart from the monitor lizard’s ability to adapt in most parts of the world, while komodo dragons are only limited to several islands, komodo dragons lead in every other aspect. They have longer lifespans, more venom, and even better “romantic” practices.