Langka: A Very Special Dragon

~ by Roel De Plecker

We proudly announce a very rare event that took place at the park: our Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) named Langka, the only one in Central America, laid her first eggs this year. 

Cesar Barrio photo - Varanus komodoensis

Cesar Barrio photo – Varanus komodoensis

This is unique since she never came into contact with a male throughout her life. Langka was born in a zoo in Spain in 2004, and is part of a conservation project. 

Komodo dragons are the world’s largest lizards; the males grow up to 3 meters long and weigh close to 70 kilograms, and females tend to grow smaller. They normally feed on carrion, but sometimes they eat birds, mammals, and even other reptiles.

The theory that their prey die due to the bacteria in the dragon’s mouth has been disputed; they do seem to have venom glands in their lower jaws. They only occur on 5 islands in Indonesia.

Varanus komodoensis - egg

Varanus komodoensis – egg

Female Komodo dragons have the ability to have an asexual reproduction, in which growth and development of the embryos occur without fertilization; this is called parthenogenesis.

It will take about 7 to 8 months for them to hatch, and these will all be males because of this kind of reproduction. Therefore, in the wild, the male offspring will later be able to copulate with their mother, and hence, maintain their species.

This rare form of reproduction occurs in some plants, fish, reptiles, and amphibians, mostly in isolated populations. We are very excited that this occurred in Reptilandia and are currently waiting for 3 fertile eggs to hatch!

Cesar Barrio photo - Varanus komodoensis 2

Cesar Barrio photo – Varanus komodoensis 2

Parque Reptilandia is the largest reptile park in Costa Rica, and has the richest variety of such animals.

We have boas, pythons, venomous snakes, lizards, tortoises, and turtles from all over the world. These magnificent creatures are kept in beautiful terrariums, decorated with rock art and real plants, meeting the needs of each individual, all resembling the habitat in which they occur in the wild.

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