May 01, 2009 This summer, the Indianapolis Zoo is offering another blockbuster exhibit with "Dragons of Komodo" presented by Citizens Energy Group. The exhibit, opening Saturday, May 23, will feature two Komodo Dragons on the prowl through Labor Day.
Komodo Dragons are the largest lizard in the world, and can grow up to 10 feet long. In the wild, they can only be found on a small island chain in Indonesia. As a top predator in the food chain, these fierce lizards can swim, climb trees, and take down animals more than twice their own size. It's no wonder they are considered just as intriguing as they are dangerous.
As a temporary exhibit, the Komodo Dragons come to the Indianapolis Zoo on loan from the Denver Zoo. It may surprise some people, but zoos and aquariums share animals often. Two primary missions among institutions are education and animal conservation. By sharing animals, facilities can bring animals to a new audience with a smaller number of animals in captivity.
Have you ever wondered how animals are transported across the country? Getting the Komodo Dragons to Indianapolis took an unusual approach. They came on an airplane, but they weren't alone. Each lizard had its own crate and flew underneath a passenger plane. The Zoo's van received a police escort onto the tarmac to meet the plane. As passengers watched from above, the two crates were removed from the plane. The van was then escorted back off the runway before the plane continued on to the terminal. Can you imagine what the passengers must have been thinking?
The two Komodo's, Dipsner and Hudo, are here in Indianapolis and adjusting well to their new summer home in the Midwest. They arrived safely several weeks early to offer both staff and animals plenty of time to adjust to the new exhibit and each other. These animals were born from the same clutch in 2003, making them brothers. Of the two, Dipsner is the shortest measuring in at seven feet. Hudo is already eight feet in length. They are named after cities in Indonesia.
Later this month, the animals can be found in a new exhibit space in the Plains Biome. The indoor holding area was an existing facility that has been renovated to accommodate the Komodo Dragons. The two separate outdoor yards are brand new and offer great views of the animals. The floor of the exhibit space is actually several feet off the ground so the kids can see the animal at their level. One side of the exhibit will even have a tunnel up next to the large glass window for an even more unique view.
As dangerous as it may seem, don't be afraid to see these living dragons up close. They are a rare treat to see on the prowl in person. A daily chat will take place at the exhibit each day and Naturalists will often be available to share information about Komodo artifacts.