Nashville Zoo is thrilled to announce that a new Komodo dragon habitat will officially open to the public tomorrow, Thursday, July 27. This is the largest Komodo dragon habitat in the Americas, built to house up to two adult males, three adult females and juvenile Komodo dragons.
Guests will have the opportunity to see the Zoo’s Komodo dragons including Lil Sebastian, the Zoo's biggest lizard measuring nine feet in length. This species is known for being the largest and heaviest lizard on earth reaching up to 10 feet in length and weighing more than 300 pounds. They are dominant predators with powerful jaws and a toxic bite. In the wild, they ambush deer, goats, pigs, and have even been known to take down horses and water buffalo.
The new Komodo dragon habitat is located by the Zoo's HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center and features viewing areas along an outdoor path giving guests an elevated view from several vantage points. A large viewing window offers eye-level viewing when the dragons are inside. Interactive learning elements and signs compliment the exhibit, educating visitors about Komodo dragon biology, natural habitat and the Zoo's work to protect this species.
Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) are only native to the tropical Lesser Sunda Indonesian Islands and are considered endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Nashville Zoo participates in the Komodo Dragon Species Survival Plan® to help ensure genetically diverse dragon populations in human care. Nashville Zoo helps protect this species in their native habitat by partnering with Komodo Survival Program, an organization dedicated to Komodo dragon educational initiatives and hands-on conservation work with wild populations.
In addition to Komodo dragons, this exhibit will feature crocodile monitors and red-crowned cranes. Komodo dragons will be visible in the outdoor section of the habitat during warmer months while crocodile monitors, the second longest lizard species, will be visible from the viewing window. Crocodile monitors are a large, arboreal species native to New Guinea and have long dark-colored bodies with bright yellow spots and patterns. During colder months, the Komodo dragons can be viewed in their climate-controlled, indoor habitat while red-crowned cranes, a winter-hardy bird, will enjoy the outdoor habitat space.
This habitat was made possible through a generous gift from the Patton family. To learn more about the new Komodo dragon habitat, visit www.nashvillezoo.org.
About Nashville Zoo
Nashville Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, exemplifying the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. Nashville Zoo is actively engaged in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs, and education initiatives in our backyard as well as around the world. With support from the Nashville community, donors, and sponsors, the Zoo is ranked the number one tourist attraction in Middle Tennessee and welcomes more than one million guests annually. Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike just six miles south of downtown. For more information about Nashville Zoo, visit nashvillezoo.org.