Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Zoo Biol. 2000;19(6):495-509.

Blood values in wild and captive Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis).

Author information

1
Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, Tennessee.

Abstract

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is the largest living lizard and occupies a range smaller than that of any other large carnivore in the world. Samples from 33 free-ranging animals at five localities in Komodo National Park, Indonesia were evaluated to assess underlying health problems. To build a comparative database, samples from 44 Komodo dragons in both Indonesian and U.S. zoos were also analyzed. Tests performed included complete blood counts, clinical chemistry profiles, vitamin A, D(3), and E analyses, mineral levels, and screening for chlorinated pesticides or other toxins in wild specimens. Blood samples from wild dragons were positive for hemogregarines, whereas captive specimens were all negative. Total white blood cell counts were consistently higher in captive Komodo dragons than in wild specimens. Reference intervals were established for some chemistry analytes, and values obtained from different groups were compared. Vitamin A and E ranges were established. Vitamin D(3) levels were significantly different in Komodo dragons kept in captive, indoor exhibits versus those with daily ultraviolet-B exposure, whether captive or wild specimens. Corrective measures such as ultraviolet-permeable skylights, direct sunlight exposure, and self-ballasted mercury vapor ultraviolet lamps increased vitamin D(3) concentrations in four dragons to levels comparable with wild specimens. Toxicology results were negative except for background-level chlorinated pesticide residues. The results indicate no notable medical, nutritional, or toxic problems in the wild Komodo dragon population. Problems in captive specimens may relate to, and can be corrected by, husbandry measures such as regular ultraviolet-B exposure. Zoo Biol 19:495-509, 2000.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center