The animal kingdom in Las Vegas just got a little bigger. Now the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is home to two male juvenile Komodo dragons direct from Prague. They join an adult male Komodo that first joined the Shark Reef family in 2008, and the three will rotate on display.
Fewer than 5,000 Komodos, native mainly to Indonesia, survive in the wild. The Shark Reef Aquarium became one of only seven places picked by the Praha Zoological Garden in the Czech Republic to care for the youngsters. The zoo recently captive-hatched 10 dragons. The two new Komodos cannot live in the exhibit together; they prove deadly to each other.
These boys can weight up to 300 pounds when they reach the maximum 10 feet in length, making them the world’s heaviest and largest lizards. One bite from their virulent saliva contains about 50 strains of bacteria that infects their prey’s blood, typically killing them in a week. This venomous saliva is also being researched for use in anti-coagulation and antibacterial medications.