Thursday, April 21
In case you missed it, we had a pretty significant event in the Herpetology Department this week. Rinca the Komodo dragon went outside for the first time in his life! At 5 ½ years old, he is finally large enough and heavy enough that we can start introducing him to the outside world. We started the process by only leaving him out for a couple of hours a day so that we can monitor his behavior and ensure that this is a completely positive experience for him. We will gradually increase the duration until he is staying out for the entire day. So far things have gone extremely well, and Rinca seems to be thoroughly enjoying his time outside, but not so much that he isn’t willing to come back inside when called (which is a great relief for his keepers!).
Komodo dragons come from the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and a few smaller surrounding islands within the Indonesian chain. In the wild they are mostly solitary animals with huge home ranges and can travel for a number of miles each day in search of food. They typically live to be 20-25 years of age, and large individuals can reach 150-200 pounds.
Although Rinca is not quite this large yet, he is still an impressive sight to behold. We invite you to come see him in his outside habitat this summer where you can gain a real appreciation for just how spectacular these animals are!
Keeper III, Herpetology