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Komodo Dragon - Mating



Taken from Claudio Ciofi's article in The Scientific American

When a male decides to mate with a female, he stimulates her by flicking his tongue over her snout and body. They nudge snouts, rub chins, bite necks and scratch. Skin gland secretions also help in the stimulation. Like snakes, a male Komodo has a pair of penises called (hemipenes) usually held inverted inside his cloaca. To mate, the male extends his hemipenes, then crawls on the back of the female and inserts one of the hemipenes into her cloaca. It is over very quickly.


Dragon ladies

The mating habits of the dragons are not fully understood. The mating season for dragons is in the middle of the dry season from May to November. As the dragons are normally solitary and territorial, courtship often occurs when the dragons gather at a carcass to feed. Large evenly matched males compete in fierce battles for the attention of the females . Reminiscent of snakes, they wrestle upright, using their tails for support, grabbing each other with their front limbs, snapping at each other, attempting to throw their opponent to the ground. The loser is the first one to fall. Blood is usually drawn in these battles. The loser either runs off or lies prone and motionless.


Dinner date or just dinner?

How do such dangerous cannibalistic creatures get around to mating instead of eating each other? Some studies suggest dragons perform mating rituals whenever they meet, so when mating season comes around, the females are less aggressive towards males. It is also suspected that pheromones may tell the female that the male approaching her will not attack. It is also suspected that the animals know each other. Animals with overlapping territories may have come across one another regularly, and may have mated before.


Back: Komodo Dragon

Continue: Komodo Dragon Life Cycle


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