rarity and remoteness makes it seem even more fiction than fact.
;omodo dragons are more properly called ;omodo monitors. They are the largest of
the monitors;and in fact the largest of all li;ards;a group which includes several other
giants and an abundance of small representatives. As it happens, this group is among my
favorite of all reptiles. They are sleek and graceful when small, ponderous and powerful
when large. They are as beautifully designed as sharks or scorpions, elegant, and often
graced with beautiful patterns and colors. But mostly, ; love them because they are the
brainiacs of the reptile world.
;ost predatory reptiles famously sit and wait for their meals. They tend not to be
active hunters. Not the monitors;they are typically active foragers and stalkers. This
behavior engenders a higher metabolic rate and a commensurately bigger brain.
;onitors will often be seen walking about their habitats, alertly checking the corners
of their cages, digging through substrate and eyeing even the ceiling, as if bugs might
There are certain members of the reptile kingdom that immediately elicit a deep and emotional resonance with humans that is part fear, part wonder and part
awe inspiring. There are king cobras, mighty in their
legitimate danger, and intimidating in their si;e and
behavior. There are Nile crocodiles, huge and cunning,
lurking in the river as they lurk in our imagination.
There are ;ackson’s chameleons, like tiny dinosaurs,
alien from their snouts to their tails. There are
anacondas, like real-life dragons. There are Galapagos
tortoises, primordial and ancient. ;n this elevated
pantheon of reptiles, none seems more resonant than
the ; omodo dragon, the huge, swaggering li;ard whose
PHOTO BY © ADOGSLIFEPHOTO
Kingdom Monitor lizards can be great pets, as long as consumers choose the right breed for their lifestyle. BY OWEN MAERCKS