Komodo dragon

The Komodo dragon lumbers through the forest on its thick, stocky legs. It sways its head back and forth, flicking its long tongue as it searches for a daily meal. With its sharp teeth and surprising speed, the Komodo dragon is a top predator on the Indonesian islands where it lives. It might seem like a ferocious "dragon," but it's actually the world's largest lizard.

Scientific name: Varanus komodoensis
Size: 150 to 200 pounds (about 7 to 9 feet long)
Habitat: dry grasslands and forests of Indonesia
Diet: wild animals like deer, goat, wild boar, snakes, birds, and even smaller lizards
Characteristics: dark, gray or brown stocky body,
sharp teeth, and strong legs
Threats: habitat destruction and the overhunting of deer (the Komodo's prey)

Image credits: main image: courtesy of Gerald and Buff Corsi, California Academy of Sciences; Chris Raxworthy: courtesty of AMNH.