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Re: komodos



Barry Williams wrote:

> Pardon me for asking, but doesn't 'bloodedness' of reptiles v
> mammals etc refer to the ability to maintain internal body
> temperature, and has nothing to do with blood heat per se. ie
> mammals, birds etc maintain a fairly constant body temperature
> regardless of ambient, while a reptile's blood temperature rises and
> falls with ambient temperatures - thus reptiles need a bit of a
> 'warm-up' in the morning, after a cold night, before they get going.
> This is not likely to be a big problem for Komodos because they live
> on an island near (or astride) the equator, so there isn't likely to
> be a big range of ambient temperatures and thus not much need for
> warming up.

You are quite correct. Reptiles in general, and the komodos in this
case, can't maintain a stable body temperature other than behavioraly
(if memory serves, the technical term is 'poikilothermic'). This means
that after a cold night, they need to bask in warm sunshine to get to
'operating temperature'. It also means that at the equatorial noon
they have to be less active and/or seek shade in order to avoid
*over*heating. However, once its at its optimum temp, theres nothing
surprising about the fact that komodo dragons are active predators,
able to chase and take down prey like goats (and indeed humans).

You might like to read the relevant chapter of Douglas Adam's "Last
Chance to see", which includes an interesting description of komodo
dragons feeding...

M.

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