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Home » Komodo Dragon As a Pet? Here’s What You Need To Know

Komodo Dragon As a Pet? Here’s What You Need To Know

The Komodo Dragon is one of the largest, scariest, and most magnificent reptiles out there. Unfortunately, they are a protected species and illegal to own. And in any case, you would not want to keep one as a pet.

Choosing a Leopard Gecko
Choosing a Leopard Gecko

Komodo dragons are massive 10-feet long, 300-pound heavy beasts that would be incredibly difficult to feed and care for. Not to mention the fact that they have strong teeth and a venomous bite that would probably kill you.

There are however a few alternatives to keeping a Komodo dragon in your house legally and without endangering an animal species or yourself and your neighbors. Here’s a few things you need to consider.

Adult Komodo Dragon, the largest species of Monitor Lizard.

Can you keep a Komodo dragon as a pet?

No, Komodo dragons cannot be kept as pets for a number of reasons. First of all, they are endangered. Secondly, they are dangerous. And venomous. And carnivores, and perfectly able to kill and feed on a human. Yes, you heard that right. Even if you were to get your hands on a “pet” Komodo dragon, chances are you would not be able to provide adequate care for it, given they need a lot of room, adequate heat, light, humidity, and large amounts of meat.

Where can I buy a baby Komodo dragon?

Komodo dragons are not available in the pet trade and you should not be able to get them anywhere because that’s illegal. And as already mentioned a few times, they can and will kill you.  

But I *really* wanted a Komodo dragon pet. What can I get instead?

The good news is, there are a bunch of lizards that are similar enough to the Komodo dragon but without the whole endangered man-eating 10-feet monster thing going on, and which can be kept as pets. As a matter of fact, the Komodo is a type of monitor lizard, and there are a few species which are kept in captivity.

Other species of monitor lizards look almost exactly like Komodo dragons, except they are smaller in size, still somewhat venomous, but not particularly dangerous to humans (read: they could still kill you, but generally do not). If you are still not convinced, you may consider getting a tegu lizard instead, this is a species that looks like a monitor but it’s known to be much friendlier and easy to keep as a pet.

Juvenile Komodo Dragon

Pet Lizard Species That Look Like Komodo Dragons

1. Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)

The Asian Water Monitor is probably the species of monitor lizard that most looks like a Komodo dragon and which you can keep around the house. Male Asian Water monitors easily grow up to 6-8 feet in size, making it one of the largest reptiles in the world. They are by no means beginner-friendly pets, but with enough training, resources and a lot of patience they can be tamed. Black Asian Water Monitors are also known as “Black Dragons” and they are simply majestic.

2. Savannah Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus)

Savannah monitors grow up to 5-6 feet in size (roughly half the size of a Komodo) and are considered relatively tame as far as monitor lizards go. They are actually somewhat popular as pets in the US, but they do require expert handling and have specific enclosure requirements. Despite their impressive size, they mainly feed on insects and small prey, so you should be safe.

3. Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus)

Nile monitors can also grow around 5-6 feet in size but they are known for being more aggressive and difficult to tame compared to other species of monitor lizards, plus they are known to feed on cats. Still, you can legally own one. Notoriously, a man called Ronald Huff owned seven of such pets, which he allowed to roam freely in his house, until they killed and ate him back in 2002. If that’s what floats your boat, then by all means get a bunch of Nile monitors and pretend they are tiny Komodo dragons. Just don’t pretend we didn’t try to warn you.

4. Black-throated Monitor (Varanus albigularis microstictus)

Blackthroat monitors are some of the largest monitor lizard species in captivity, with an adult male averaging around 6 feet. They have a cousin, the white-throated monitor, which is fairly similar but slightly smaller in size. Both species are considered “beginner-friendly” as far monitors go, although you should not adopt them as your very first reptile or pet. If you do get one, be prepared to feed them a lot of (preferably) dead animals.

5. Argentine Tegu (Salvator merianae)

Tegus are not monitor lizards, but they have common ancestors. The Argentine or black and white tegu is one of the largest species, also called the Giant tegu, with a male averaging 4-5 feet head-to-tail. Like monitors, they are highly intelligent, unlike monitors, they are not venomous and much less dangerous to have around. Tegus are considered very good pets, showing “dog-like” qualities at times, even though they are still reptiles.They might not look as threatening as Komodo dragons, but they are quite impressive nonetheless.

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