Zoo Miami's famous Komodo dragon 'Khaos' dies at 18

Khaos 1 of 27 Komodo dragons hatched from clutch of 28 eggs in 1998


MIAMI – Zoo Miami announced Tuesday that an 18-year-old Komodo dragon, Khaos, died Monday at the zoo.

"He was a very special lizard," Ron Magill, the zoo's spokesman, said. 

Zoo officials said a necropsy showed no clear indication of death, so veterinarians are waiting on a final pathology report, which could take several weeks.

Khaos was one of 27 Komodo dragons hatched from a clutch of 28 eggs in 1998 at Zoo Miami. At the time, it was the largest clutch to be produced outside Indonesia.

Zoo Miami said Khaos was selected by staff to be hand-raised in order to be used as an outreach animal. He often participated in outreach events and television programs.

The zoo said Khaos had a relaxed personality and never showed any signs of aggression, contrary to the reputation Komodo dragons typically have.

"He never, in the 18 years I knew him, showed one sign of aggressive behavior," Magill said. "Expect for the day he hatched. He was a real fire ball, bat out of hell." 

However, Khaos' gentle nature soon became present.

 Magill recalls that the dragon was always "happy to see you." 

Khaos suffered several health challenges in the last two years that restricted his mobility, becoming so severe that staff considered euthanizing him due to his dramatic loss of quality of life. However, the staff developed a hydrotherapy program for him, which involved placing him in a pool and allowing him to swim, in hopes of improving his range of motion.

The therapy was a success, improving the quality of his life.

A zookeeper told Local 10 News Khaos was a sweetheart and that he loved being held.

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