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Keeper, Stu with Taronga's young male Komodo Dragon
Keeper, Stu with Taronga's young male Komodo Dragon

Taronga Zoo’s reptile keepers have taken on the exciting role of taming dragons!

The conditioning of our two juvenile Komodo Dragons is progressing incredibly well, helping us to raise some very good-natured and motivated lizards.

Komodo Dragons are among the ‘most actively intelligent’ reptiles on the planet. It is therefore important for us to condition these animals from a young age to ensure they remain active and mentally stimulated.

Keepers have also been working on conditioning programs for some of our Frill-Necked Lizards.

Frill-Necked Lizards are members of the Dragon family in Australia, quite different to the Komodo Dragon’s monitor-lizard family. Other members of this dragon family include bearded dragons and water dragons.

Keepers have been conditioning these remarkable Australian lizards to remain on our hands and arms and to be tong-fed, allowing us to handle them safely.

This will also potentially allow us to include these amazing lizards in tours, giving visitors up-close views and encounters!

As with a lot of animal training, successful sessions require a high-value motivator – often a favourite food. Frill-Necked Lizard conditioning is no exception, and during sessions with our lizards, we provide them with their favourite snack – juicy crickets!

- Keeper, Chris Dryburgh

 

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