Though I have gushed about the underwater splendors of Komodo National Park (check out a video and a write up if you’re curious), the area is actually more known for something else….DRAGONS!
The Komodo Archipelago is a remote area of Indonesia where dragons still roam. Komodo dragons are the biggest and heaviest lizards in the world, that have thrived in the harsh dry climate of the Komodo islands for millions of years. To give it perspective, Komodo dragons today are similar to fossils of giant lizards in Australia/Indonesia from the Ice Age and have maintained their size when many other large animals of that time became extinct. Today, these lethal giants of the prehistoric world are only found in a handful of islands in and around the Komodo National Park.
While we saw them lazing in the hot midday sun, the park ranger told us that they run at speeds around 20-25 km/hr. The rangers all carried a long wooden staff forked at the end to catch a charging dragon in the throat as a precaution. Their bite contains over 50 strains of bacteria and venom to top it off that typically kills its prey within 24 hours, which includes buffalo, deer, pigs, fish and any baby komodo lizards they find on the sparse islands. Dragons will follow the weakening prey for miles until they finally feast. Komodo dragons can eat 80% of its own weight in one sitting! That’s even more incredible because they grow up to 10 feet long and weigh up to 330lb! They live up to 30 years old and the first few years are spent up in the trees as adult Komodo dragons will eat the small and young they find.