Knoxville Zoo gets its first Komodo dragon

Knoxville Zoo gets its first Komodo dragon

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Khaleesi made her public debut Monday. Khaleesi made her public debut Monday.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - For the first time, a Komodo dragon is calling the Knoxville Zoo home.

Khaleesi made her public debut Monday. She's a 19-month-old Komodo dragon from a zoo in Atlanta.

She's not finished growing. The zoo expects her to easily be 80 pounds and eight feet long when she matures.

Zoo officials say Komodo dragons are in high demand by zoos across the country.

"It's kind of just one of those things that the public wants to see they always want to see giant snakes, lizards, tortoises or something really colorful or dangerous and Komodos are really up there for that," said Curator of Herpetology Phil Colclough.

Komodo dragons are known for taking down large animals such as deer and pigs. Their saliva contains a bacteria that infects their prey, making a bite that's dangerous to humans as well.     

Only about 5,000 Komodo dragons still exist in their natural habitat, the South Pacific.

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