SOURCE: Mandalay Bay

April 18, 2008 08:07 ET

Rare Komodo Dragon Arrives at Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef Aquarium

Dangerous Lizard Debuts June 20

LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwire - April 18, 2008) - With a fearsome reputation, approximately 60 dagger-like, serrated teeth, deadly saliva and piercing razor-sharp claws, the Komodo Dragon will call Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay home beginning June 20.

"We are excited to welcome such a rare and endangered predator as the Komodo Dragon to Shark Reef Aquarium," said Brian Robison, the facility's Executive Director. "Guests will have the thrilling experience of being within arm's length to observe the powerful nature of this fascinating creature."

The Komodo Dragon will join an impressive group of animals at Shark Reef Aquarium, a 90,560-square-foot, predator-based aquarium -- the only one of its kind in North America.

Having no known predators in the world, the Komodo Dragon is the most deadly of all lizards. With just one bite, virulent saliva containing about 50 kinds of bacteria reacts with the prey's blood. Special enzymes in the saliva prevent blood from clotting, causing the infection to spread and ultimately leading to the death of the prey.

Komodo Dragons are immune to the saliva properties of other Komodo Dragons. After particularly brutal battles, scientists have observed Komodo Dragons do not display any ill effect from the saliva-filled bites nor do they demonstrate life-threatening injuries from the deep claw marks. Because of the unique properties, their blood and saliva are being studied for use in anti-coagulation and antibacterial medications.

A relative of the Water Monitor, the Komodo Dragon can reach up to 10 feet in length and can weigh up to 200 pounds. With a world population of less than 5,000, the largest and heaviest lizard species lives on the Southeast islands of Indonesia, including their primary habitat, Komodo Island. As part of the conservation effort, 75 Komodo Dragons are in human care at zoos and aquariums throughout North America.

These facilities, including Shark Reef Aquarium, work to ensure the survival of the species through education, awareness and breeding.

Since its debut in 2000, Shark Reef Aquarium has become a must-see Las Vegas attraction and educational facility, where adults and children alike can enjoy and learn about the more than 2,000 divinely dangerous animals including sharks, crocodiles, sawfish and piranhas.

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is open daily, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Ticket prices are $15.95 for adults and $10.95 for children; children four and under are free.

For more information, call (702) 632-4555.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Sandy Zanella
    MGM MIRAGE Public Relations
    (702) 650-7530