Friday, July 4, 2008

Giant Lizard found near Ranchi city of Jharkhand State.



Giant Lizard found near Ranchi city of Jharkhand State of India.
by
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi
Recently a giant lizard was caught by the villagers some 30 kilometers from the Ranchi city of Jharkhand State. Such types of lizards are very rare in Jharkhand. Till now only two or three cases have reported from the state. This lizard very much resembles to Komodo Dragon commonly found in Indonesia. The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is a species of lizard that inhabits the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Gili Dasami, in central Indonesia. A member of the monitor lizard family (Varanidae), it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to an average length of 2–3 meters (approximately 6.5–10 ft) and weighing around 70 kilograms (154 lb). Their unusual size is attributed to island gigantism, since there are no other carnivorous animals to fill the niche on the islands where they live, and also to the Komodo dragon's low metabolic rate. As a result of their size, these lizards are apex predators, dominating the ecosystems in which they live. Although Komodo dragons eat mostly carrion, they will also hunt and ambush prey including invertebrates, birds, and mammals. There are only an estimated 1,000 to 5,000 of these monitor lizards living today.
The evolutionary development of the Komodo dragon started with the Varanus genus, which originated in Asia about 40 million years ago and migrated to Australia. Around 15 million years ago, a collision between Australia and Southeast Asia allowed the Varanids to move into what is now the Indonesian archipelago. The Komodo dragon is believed to have differentiated from its Australian ancestors 4 million years ago, extending their range to as far east as the island of Timor. The Ice Age and its dramatic sea level changes brought the islands that the Komodo dragons inhabited into their present locations, isolating them in their present range.
The Komodo dragon prefers hot and dry places, and typically lives in dry open grassland, savanna, and tropical forest at low elevations. As an ectotherm, it is most active in the day, although it exhibits some nocturnal activity.
Komodo dragons also possess virulent bacteria in their saliva, of which more than 28 Gram-negative and 29 Gram-positive strains have been isolated. These bacteria cause septicemia in their victim; if an initial bite does not kill the prey animal and it escapes, it will commonly succumb within a week to the resulting infection.
As it is their Mating season which occurs between May and August, it has been found in the village. From several days it is heavily raining in Jharkhand State which may have forced this reptile to enter the village for search of food and shelter.
Four feet long reptile appears to be a baby lizard. It was held in captivity for one month.
The villagers have fed this carnivorous lizard chicks, apart from several frogs and eggs.
Now it has been handed over to the forest department to be housed in Zoological park near Ranchi city where it will be the second of its kind.
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