Skip to main content

English Language Programs Book Club: Once Upon a Dragon

The English Language Programs Book Club is a program offered by the Downtown Campus Library. It is open to everyone.

What are we reading?

Baby Komodo at the Jacksonville Zoo

baby Komodo dragon

The Jacksonville Zoo has a Komodo Dragon exhibit which features two baby Komodo Dragons named Khaleesi and Saphira, both of whom turn two years old on January 12th, 2015. In the zoo, Komodo Dragons eat rodents, chicks, and rabbits.

A little on how Stefano Unterthiner got those photos

Read this article to discover how Stefano Unterthiner was able to capture these photos of komodos.

Close Encounters With A Komodo

komodo dragon close-up

Photograph by Stefano Unterthiner for "Close Encounters With A Komodo," National Geographic Magazine.

Quiz Yourself on Vocabulary from the Article

See a map showing the island where Komodo Dragons live

Additional Reading

Komodo Dragons by Gresko. Here's a link we have to a book on Komodo Dragons at the Downtown Campus

"The Komodo Dragon is an All-Purpose Killing Machine"  This article by Brendan Borrell originally appeared in Smithsonian Magazine in February 2013.

"The Most Infamous Komodo Dragon Attacks of the Past 10 Years"  This article by Rachel Nuwer originally appeared in Smithsonian Magazine in January 2013.

"The Origin of the Komodo Dragon" This blogpost by Greg Laden was published online for Smithsonian Magazine in September 2009 and covers how Komodo Dragons may have evolved.

"If Lizards Look at Home, Credit Months of Zoo Labor" by Lisa Foderaro  Follow this link to the Library Databases to read about how artists created a habitat for Komodo Dragons at the Bronx Zoo. This article originally appeared in The New York Times on July 16, 2013. Note: you must be logged into the library for this link to work.

Animals: Komodo Dragon on National Geographic Kids  This page gives basic facts about Komodo Dragons, their habitat, and how they live.

All About the Bite

A collection of articles on the bite of the Komodo Dragon describing how science has changed what we believe about their "toxic" bite.

"The Myth of the Komodo Dragon's Dirty Mouth" by Ed Yong  This post, which originally appeared in National Geographic's online blog Phenomena in June 2013, continues to attempt to debunk the myth of the "toxic" bite of the Komodo Dragon.

"Here Be Dragons: The Mythic Bite of the Komodo Dragon" by Christie Wilcox This blog post, originally published on Discover magazine's website in July of 2013, debunks the myth of the Komodo Dragon's toxic bite. ("Debunk" means "to expose the falseness of something.")

"Venomous Komodo Dragons Kill Prey with Wound-and-Poison Tactics" by Ed Yong This post to National Geographic's online blog Phenomena, which originally appeared in May 2009, discusses the myth of the Komodo's "toxic" bite.

Discussion Questions

Here are some of the things we'll be discussing about this reading. The first set of questions are to test your understanding of the reading.The second set are to make you think a little more about komodo dragons and the world. We've put those in the forum in case you want to talk about them a little more.


1. What is the author’s purpose of the description in the first paragraph?

2. How does KNP help protect the future of the Komodo dragon?

3. Are there any negative results of KNP?

4. What factors are negatively affecting the Komodo dragon population of Flores?

Think About It

1. How do Komodo dragons compare to mythical dragons?

2. Do you think Komodo dragons being featured in pop culture helps or hinders their protection?

3. Should KNP continue its role in the protection of Komodo dragons? Would you suggest any changes in their procedures?

4. “Life in the big city would be more terrifying {than living with Komodo dragons}.” Do you agree with her statement? Would you camp with Komodo dragons?

Need to listen to the article?

Watch A Video On Komodo Dragons

See Photos from the Article

See photos from the National Geographic magazine article we read for book club by clicking this link:

Komodo Dragon up-close with blurry background

Photograph by Stefano Unterthiner for "Once Upon A Dragon," National Geographic Magazine.


The Komodo Dragon in Skyfall



Follow this link to a blog post by Edward Biddulph talking about the komodo dragon used in the most recent James Bond film. He also touches on one of our discussion questions when he talks about how the film may impact the perception people have of komodo dragons.



 Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) Libraries Libguides are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY)