Google’s quiz on Komodo dragons

Today’s Google Doodle involves a 5-question quiz about Komodo dragons. (Click on screenshot to begin the quiz.)



I won! (See below; so did Greg Mayer, who called this to my attention.) You can learn more facts by going on with the Doodle after you get your score. Why a Komodo dragon Doodle today? Because it’s the 37th anniversary of Komodo National Park. I won’t tell you where that is, because it’s the basis of one of the quiz questions. 

Report your results below, and I hope all the readers get at least 4 out of 5.

Now that you’ve taken your quiz, you can read about these big lizards ((Varanus komodoensis) here and watch this nice video:

If you want to see one attacking (and killing) a deer, go here.



  1. Griff
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    “They’ve been known to bite people”?

    They’ve been known to do a lot more than that!

    • darrelle
      Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Yeah. That cracked me up.

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    “Report your results below”

    If I have to :


    Maybe I’m making excuses, but, I took it about 6 hours before this post, and 5 miles bites before coffee. I recall getting angrier during the quiz, impulsively clicking ….

  3. darrelle
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    5/5. Can I call myself an expert now!?

  4. Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    5/5! Komodos were one of my obsessions when i was a lad.

  5. Aelfric
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    5/5 here, with one lucky guess (had no idea about their sense of smell). This all reminds me that I have to go back and see if they’re actually venomous or not, as there still seems to be some debate?

    • darrelle
      Posted March 6, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      It has fairly recently been found that Komodo’s are indeed venomous. Their venom has been isolated and analyzed and the delivery method has been figured out. Apparently they have a relatively complicated series of ducts and the duct openings are between the teeth, not through the teeth like in snakes.

      I can’t remember the details very well but a major affect of the venom is to lower blood pressure leading to shock.

      • Aelfric
        Posted March 6, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for clearing that up! I grew up learning that they were indeed venomous, but then at some point I think it was believed that it was simply a septic mix in their mouths of carrion that caused infection? This is the problem with being a scientific dilettante!

        • darrelle
          Posted March 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          That’s pretty much what I remember too. Years ago it was more or less assumed that they were venomous, but I don’t think that assumption was based on anything beyond observing what their bites did to prey.

          Then, after some actual study of the dragons themselves it was discovered that they didn’t have any obvious venom delivery system, like hypodermic needle like teeth, but their saliva had all sorts of really nasty bacteria that caused blood poisoning relatively quickly. For at least some years experts were typically saying it was the bacteria in the saliva.

    • Posted March 12, 2017 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      5/5 and guessed on smell too.

  6. Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the information on these “beasties”. Hugs

  7. Christopher Bonds
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I missed the one about being a light eater.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted March 6, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      So did I. Like most reptiles, their average food intake is low, but, again like most reptiles, they take occasional huge meals. The question is ambiguous.

      • Griff
        Posted March 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Ditto. I took ‘light’ to mean infrequent.

    • Graham Head
      Posted March 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      4/5 I fell for this one too.

    • Posted March 6, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Same here. I figured it was a tricky question. I answered “true” because like most reptiles they probably eat a lot less food in a year than similarly sized warm blooded carnivores eat.

  8. Kevin
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    100%; thanks to PBS:Nature.

  9. Griff
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    The islands are beautiful btw. Well worth a visit.

  10. Mark R.
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    5/5… It might have helped that on episode one of Planet Earth Part 2, there was a good segment on Komodo Dragons.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted March 6, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      I was thinking about that as I took the quiz.

  11. Merilee
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Can’t get it to open. Canada??

  12. Pliny the in Between
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    5/5 First learned of them at the San Diego Zoo as a kid.

  13. veroxitatis
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    4/5. Wrong guess on food requirements.

  14. Jim Knight
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    5 for 5. They’re just snakes that haven’t “made it” yet..

  15. sgo
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    4/5, got a wrong answer on the one about smell.

    The segment recently on Planet Earth II was superb indeed, though they’ve been on similar documentaries before, equally fantastic (was it Life, or the first Planet Earth, that also featured them?).

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted March 7, 2017 at 4:57 am | Permalink

      I first became hooked on David Attenborough at the age of nine, watching Zoo Quest for a Dragon on BBC (the one and only channel available then). I remember being bitterly disappointed that when they found it, it didn’t have wings, and couldn’t breath fire. 😦

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted March 7, 2017 at 5:03 am | Permalink

      BTW, if you follow the link, you can watch all six 30 minute episodes featuring a very young (but unmistakable) David Attenborough, back in his black and white days.

  16. Debbie Coplan
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    5 out of 5, but I’m going to skip the deer
    feeding video.

  17. busterggi
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Well of course I aced the quiz, I love Bob & Ray.

    • Merilee
      Posted March 6, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink


    • Merilee
      Posted March 6, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Love the “carnivoree”.

  18. finknottle
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    5 for 5, like a good game for Rod Carew

  19. Derek Freyberg
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    5/5 – did it yesterday evening.

    (1) I would not be squatting next to one like the guy in the video – that’s kind of like Steve Irwin and the crocs.

    (2) There’s something I saw recently on Komodo blood. Part of the problem with Komodo bites, as I understand it, is not just the venom but a nasty collection of oral bacteria. But Komodos bite each other, and yet don’t get infected. Apparently the blood contains peptides that prevent the infection. But the science was behind a paywall and all I saw was abstracts and pop-science bits. Maybe someone knows more.

    • darrelle
      Posted March 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Cellular peptide cake anyone?

  20. gscott
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    According to the picture, a Komodo dragon can detect a durian at 10km. Hell, I can do that!

  21. nicky
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    5/5, what I find fascinating is that they are thought to have preyed on dwarf mammoths in earlier days…

  22. grasshopper
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    What were the questions? There is no komodo doodle today, and the doodle link recursively takes me back to a pristine google page, where I curse and recurse.

    • grasshopper
      Posted March 6, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Thanks to Torbjörn Larsson’s link above, I was able to complete the quiz. I got 110% – believe me.

  23. Posted March 6, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Having overnights on Komodo years ago, I can tell you that they are among the wonders of the animal world. When visiting, be careful. Years ago at least one straying German tourist was actually eaten by one of these giant lizards.

  24. phoffman56
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t seem to get at the quiz, but I did learn something interesting (to me anyway) a few months ago in a MOOC course about the ‘hobbit’. Really homo floresiensis, and the not big island of Flores has the smaller Komodo Island nearby. I learned that the dragons were not just on that last island, but had been widespread on Flores, and still existed there in 2 or 3 pockets along the north shore.

    I wonder which, the hobbits or the dragons, ate more of the other one?

  25. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I love Kimodo dragons but I can’t take the quiz because google keeps redirecting me to the Canadian Google! }:<

    • grasshopper
      Posted March 6, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Diana, try this.
      The /ncr is supposed to stand for “no country redirect”.
      However I have tried it too, but there is no komodo doodle today.
      The /ncr suffix seems to work for some other domains too.

  26. Newish Gnu
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink


    Because my son used to lecture me about this sort of stuff when he was 6.

  27. ploubere
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink


  28. Posted March 6, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    5/5. I’ve been fond of Komodo dragons since I was young, but I wouldn’t want to cuddle one! They apparently have a number of anti-microbial peptides in their saliva or blood that are being considered for potential development of new antibiotics. (I forget where I read that recently).

  29. Ken Pidcock
    Posted March 6, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    See, now, I was sure they were going to say they weren’t lizards, so I got the first wrong.

  30. pdmanson
    Posted March 7, 2017 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    Got 4/5 but I don’t consider myself to be 80% of an expert – some (educated) guesswork involved.

    I was excited when I first saw the doodle because I thought it was celebrating Tiktaalik. I can see now it’s not quite right (too many legs for one thing).

  31. Posted March 7, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    An esteemed colleague, who I hope will weigh in with his own comment on the matter, disputed the veracity of one of the answers, insisting the dragons were not hostile, and that he himself had seen their keepers gently scratching them atop their scaly heads. My reply to him was that, yes, they can be quite calm around their keepers, but the guy in the doodle was clearly a tourist, and tourists are hard to tell from deer. I’ve heard stories of people on the island being killed, but I’m not sure how credible they are.

    • Jonathan Losos
      Posted March 12, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      It’s true. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and that’s well known in the zoo community. And as for the Google drawing, well, that may be so, but the question was straightforward: are KDs gentle. And I say they are! Or they can be!

  32. Posted March 8, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    What is it with Australians and tempting large carnivorous animals?

%d bloggers like this: