Hunting dragons

Komodo National park is located between Flores and Sumbawa. It was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. It consists of Komodo island, Rinca island and many smaller islands. Many of them are uninhabited and quite remote. The only way you can reach them is by boat.

Our tour itinerary stopped on both Rinca and Komodo island and on smaller islands (Kelor island, kalong island and Gili Laba). It also stopped on other 2, which are not a part of the Komodo National park.

The price for entering the National park was included in our trip. We had to pay extra for our camera (50.000 IDR).

The dragon

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The main star of the National park is the famous komodo dragon (or ora, as the locals call it –meaning land crocodile). And that’s not an ordinary lizard… We’re talking about the world’s largest and the oldest living lizard! It can be found only in Komodo National park, actually only on 4 of the islands in the National park (on Komodo, Rinca, Nusa Kode, and Gili Motang to be exact). It can reach the length of 3 meters and can weigh up to 90 kilos. The komodo dragons are cannibals, so to be on the safe side, the young komodo dragons live on the trees until they are 3 years old. They eat small animals (birds and snakes) while they live up on the trees. Maybe also a monkey or two (no joke!)

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When they’re large enough to defend for themselves, they bravely descent. They also become too heavy to live on the trees.

Adult dragons diet consist mainly of buffalo and deer. Wild boar is also a popular choice. Yes, they can easily kill an animal twice as large as themselves. Komodo dragons have a poisonous bacterium in their mouth, meaning their saliva is lethal. They bit their pray and afterwards actually stalk it until it dies from poisoning. Even though the komodo dragon is a solitary animal, they’re known to gather for dinner.

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Since they will basically eat anything, what they can overpower, you should keep your distance. They have successfully attracted people before. We heard that the dragons also know how to swim (really is it anything that they can’t do?). I guess you should check before entering the water too.

So our itinerary predicted stopping on Rinca and Komodo island. Rinca is smaller than Komodo and has less komodo population, but we read, that it’s easier to spot the dragons there. Well it really wasn’t that hard, since all the dragons hanged around the kitchen. 🙂 I guess their sense to smell a good meal is not bad as well.

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A ranger, who accompanied us on the tour around the island, told us, that the dragons are not fond of the heat and they spend most of the time just lying around in the shadow. They’re the most active in the morning and in the afternoon, which are the best times to visit (if you can choose your time).

Most of the dragons, as said, lied and slept beneath the kitchen, but one of them was on a mission. He was determined to get pass us and we were in his way. He literally charged at us! We were running, of course. Not just us, our rangers too! He looked happy enough and continued his way. Thankfully 🙂

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Our guide/ranger accompanied us on a hike around the Rinca island. The scenery is spectacular. I’ll let the pictures say it all:

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Unfortunately, we had to skip the Komodo island the next morning and were not able to see more dragons. It rained so hard, that we didn’t even leave our boat. We heard later, that komodo dragons hate getting wet and hide, when it rains, so I guess we would not be able to see them, even if we would embark…

The rest of the Komodo National park and the rest of the islands, we were privileged to see, follows…

Have you ever seen the komodo dragons? Did you find them careless venomous looking hunters or lazy, sleepy looking lizards?

 

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5 thoughts on “Hunting dragons

  1. Wow, komodo dragons are amazing. And your photos are spectacular! I love reading all the facts and learning new information about these amazing creatures. Also, Rinca island looks absolutely unreal. Dragons aside, it looks like an amazing place to hike around. Great post!!

    Like

    • Thank you!

      It is an amazing and unique place. We’ve never seen similar landscape, it looks kind of like savanna in Africa (minus the lions) 🙂

      Other travelers told us, that Komodo islands look different that Rinca, so I guess every island is a whole new story.

      Like

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