PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Zoo &PPG Aquarium was saddened by the recent death of their popular Komodo Dragon called Noname.
But now, they’re introducing Pittsburgh to a pair of newcomers.
“Komodo Dragons are found on Komodo Island in Indonesia,” says herpetologist Herb Ellerbrock. “They’re found on three islands over there.”
Ellerbrock says the two new Komodo Dragons at the Pittsburgh Zoo were raised at the Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic. But at just 2-years-old, they have a lot of growing to do.
“You can see, they’re about five-feet long and weigh only about 10 to 12 pounds,” said Ellerbrock.
The Pittsburgh Zoo’s Henry Kacprzyk says the newcomers were thought to be females. But the larger, more aggressive dragon may beg to differ.
“Our keeper thinks that the one may be a male, based on some observations he’s made,” said Kacprzyk. “These animals would be extremely important to our breeding programs in the United States because they’re new blood.”
Pittsburgh Zoo’s previous Komodo, 18-year-old Noname, died in March. He was a gentle giant, unlike his cousins in the wild.
A full grown Komodo can weigh up to 300 pounds, and they can eat up to 80 percent of their body weight in a single meal.
“They have eaten humans,” said Kacprzyk. “It’s unfortunate, but on the Islands of Komodo, people live in somewhat primitive conditions. They live in huts that are elevated, on stilts, and they have ladders. They have to pull the ladder up so the dragon can’t climb in.”