SAN DIEGO — A new exhibit featuring Komodo dragons opens this week at the San Diego Zoo.
The $10 million Komodo Kingdom area is more than two years in the making and will house two of the world’s largest lizards. The architects behind the project turned to state-of-the-art technology to make the habitat a bit more like Indonesia, where Komodo dragons are found.
A bubble-like roof will allow wildlife care specialists to let in the perfect amount of vitamin D.
“Through years of experience working with the animals, we know what heat they need, the UV light they need, how we want to set it up so they can interact and meet each other,” Director of Herpetology for San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Kim Gray said.
There are also multiple areas of the habitat that will let the dragons choose their surroundings and go through typical patterns.
“In fact, one of the habitats we have, it’s like a beach scene, and they are known to even scavenge for washed up dead things on the beach,” Gray said.
The species is classified as vulnerable to extinction on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. Very few zoos have Komodo dragons and even fewer have a pair. Care specialists are hoping Satu, an older male, and Ratu will mate.
Ratu and Satu will be able to spend time in shallow ponds and on temperature-controlled rocks.
“Inside are heat panels, like you might have in your flooring. It’s similar, so it’s nice and warm,” Gray said.
The habitat is 2,700 square feet and opens to the public along with a new hummingbird habitat on Tuesday, June 1.