Photos: 8 baby Komodo dragons arrive at Phoenix Zoo

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Zoo has eight new residents – baby Komodo dragons on loan from the Los Angeles Zoo.

The babies – four males and four females – hatched between Aug. 6 and Aug. 11. They’re all from the same clutch of 14 eggs.

At about 5 ounces each, the eight babies are a mere fraction of the size of the zoo’s adult Komodo dragons. Gaia, a 15-year-old female weighs 74 pounds. She’s 7 feet long. Her brother, Ivan, is 8 feet long and weighs 117 pounds.

The eight babies will go on display at the Phoenix Zoo Saturday. They’ll call the zoo home through spring 2012.

Komodo dragons are managed as part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, which contributes to conservation efforts for Komodo dragons in Indonesia and through work in zoos and aquariums throughout the world.

Komodo dragons are members of the monitor lizard family. Monitor lizards are found throughout Africa, Asia and Australia. Monitors range in size from approximately 12 inches to several feet long.

The Komodo dragon is the largest living species of lizard, growing to an average length of 7 to 10 feet and weighing from 100 to 200 pounds. As Gaia and Ivan illustrate, males are generally longer and heavier than females.

The Phoenix Zoo's Komodo Island exhibit opened in spring 2009.