I have been quite the secret at the zoo for the past week and I have caused quite a stir on Facebook. “What is Boudreaux?” they asked. Well, I’ll tell you what I am; I’m a Komodo dragon who is finally getting the opportunity to introduce himself to new zoo friends here in
. Colorado Springs
Zoo – Please tell the world what your name means.
Boudreaux - My name is Boudreaux, a surname of French origin and a common name among Cajuns. No, I’m not Cajun; I’m from
, where I resided at the zoo. I’m actually just
visiting for a couple of years and will return to the Oklahoma City Zoo when my
new exhibit is complete. Oklahoma
Zoo – Can you please let us know more about where you are actually from?
Boudreaux - I, along with all of my relatives, am found on the
island of Komodo
and three nearby islands in .
If you’re wondering where these islands are located, they are in the lesser
Sunda, halfway along the Indonesia Indonesia
archipelago, east of Bali and west of Timor. We’ve inhabited this landscape for over a
million years but have only been known to humans for the past 100 years.
Zoo – How can that be?
Boudreaux - You’re probably wondering how something like me can go unseen for a long period of time. These islands only have small human populations. I like to think we pretty much rule the roost! Sorry, that was a chicken saying, not a Komodo saying.
Zoo – You are such a character! Well, Boudreaux, you look amazing. Can you tell us a little bit about your physique? For the people who haven’t seen you, of course.
Boudreaux - For those of you who haven’t come to see me yet, I’m 89 pounds and very handsome. Komodo dragons can actually reach up to 330 pounds and 10 feet long. We are considered to be the largest living species of lizard. Even though we can get very large in size, we are very physically fit and can run up to 11 miles per hour in short bursts, considered to be strong swimmers and can dive up to 15 feet at a time. Of course, the 11 miles per hour is really nothing compared to my new roommates, the hippos, who can run up to 30 miles per hour for short distances.
Zoo – Wow! I’m glad you’ve gotten to chat with your new roommates.
Boudreaux – It has felt like a blind date behind all of this paper. I haven’t gotten to see them but, I hear them chatting, even though a Komodo’s hearing isn’t the best. We have pretty good vision and are able to see up to 980 feet, but we have horrible night vision due to our retinas. Our best sense is our smell; not through our nose but through our forked tongues. We can smell up to six miles away when the wind blows just right.
Zoo – So far how do you feel about your new keepers? Are you getting fed enough?
Boudreaux – I really love the keepers; they are doing a great job! You know, even though I’m only 89 pounds, I do have a very manly appetite. I’m fed a diet of five or more whole rats once a week, with a rabbit thrown in every once in awhile. I guess my neighbor, Shiva the python, will have to learn to share. Rats are delicious, but are not our only food source. On the islands, we are considered the dominant predator and will eat anything, including carrion, deer, pigs, smaller dragons, and even large water buffalo, which can be up to 15 times our size. If our prey does escape, they are still in dire straights. Our saliva contains 50 strains of bacteria and will eventually kill them within 24 hours. I’m a patient man and will follow the escapee up to six miles to eat my kill. Some of my relatives have been known to eat 80% of their body weight in a single feeding. After I’m full, I love to lay out in the sun to help the digestion process and of course get a little vitamin D on these scales.
Zoo – Huh, well it’s probably a great time to wrap things up.
Boudreaux - No worries about all of these negative attributes; I’m a laid back Komodo that loves massages on a regular basis and plenty of human interaction.