Dangerous Dragons {Komodo Dragon}

Pulau Rinca Title pic

16th January 2010

After spending a few days on Pulau Kanawa, I decided to head back to Labuan bajo as the weather had turned bad…there was a lot of rain and strong winds. Once back in Labuan bajo, I knew that I had to go and see the famous Komodo dragons before leaving Flores!! I was scared…but this just had to be done! Join for a Komodo adventure…
So, one day I decided to head off very early in the morning to Pulau Rinca…an adventure to see the Komodo! It was approximately two hours on the boat before we reached the Komodo National Park on Rinca….or Loh Buaya! This is a World Heritage site…for obvious reasons – the komodo or as it is locally known – ‘ora‘ is a protected species!

It was a lovely trip with great scenery and dolphins swimming and jumping a long side the boat! Yet I was still feeling most anxious to see the famous ‘ora‘!

Once we arrived, I walked to the National Park entrance and paid the US$25 tourist fee to enter the conservation park and paid another Rp15.000 to enter. I met my guide for the trek…and we walked to the main camp area…and suddenly when I took a look around…I realised that there were komodos surrounding me everywhere! I got such a shock and felt a little unnerved as my guide went inside a cabin to put gum boots on and I was left standing there alone and surrounded by komodo dragons lounging in the sun. Not to mention I was just wearing thongs {the flip-flop variety!}.

I was relieved when my guide came back with his big stick, as I felt really vulnerable standing alone surrounded by komodo dragons! My guide and I headed off on our one hour trek through the jungle of Rinca…in search of the komodo! And let me assure you, I followed very closely behind him and his big stick…

My guide told me lots of interesting information about the komodo, I thought that I knew quite a lot of factual information about the komodo but I was able to learn much more.

KOMODO – ORA

The komodo is the world’s largest monitor lizard, it can reach over 3 metres in length, weigh up to 100kg and they feed on animals such as; monkeys, deer, goats, wild boar and even buffalo!

Komodos can only be found on Pulau Komodo, Pulau Rinca, Pulau Padar and coastal areas of north-west Flores. The komodo dragons are good swimmers thus they have started to reach the coastal areas of Flores. It is estimated that there are approximately 1,300 komodos on Pulau Komodo and approximately 1,100 on Pulau Rinca.

The komodo has a massive body, long slender neck, powerful jaws, powerful legs with five-clawed toes and long, thick tails, which they use as weapons. Their powerful legs allow them to run very fast for short distances. Their best weapons are their sharp teeth and dagger-sharp claws but their most powerful and dangerous weapon is their poisonous bacteria in their mouths, which can kill large prey. They will wait up to two weeks after poisoining a buffalo for it to die from its venom and then eat it. Komodo can go for months with out eating…but when they are hungry then they will strike its prey!

The komodo lays large eggs – around 90mm long and weighing around 200grams. The female lays around 15 – 30 eggs at a time and buries them in a large hole in the ground, she then protects them for three months by sitting on top of the hole to protect them from predators.

As we trekked through the jungle I actually got to see several holes that the komodos had dug for their eggs. I really wanted to have a look inside the unguarded hole (below) but of course I was too scared to get up close as I thought there was probbably a komodo very close by!

Komodo + Nest
And one new fact that I learnt and found extremely bizarre is the fact that the male komodo doesn’t just have one penis…he has two!… still need to investigate why this is…

We trekked for one hour through the jungle, catching sight of a wild buffalo, lots of monkeys and birds, butterflies mating in the air and of course we spotted quite a few komodos in the jungle. We stopped for a rest at a big tree that was decorated with animal skulls {animals that had been eaten by the komodo dragons!}…freaky! I didn’t rest for long at this shrine.

Once we had finished our trek we headed back to the camp site and stayed there for quite some time…there were still lots of komodos hanging around so I took loads of photos and some videos! It was quite surreal to be standing so close to these dangerous dragons! A little eerie…but I was pleased that I went to see the komodo in the wild, in their natural habitat…I could finally tick that off the list of things to see and places to go!

Komodo Pic Collage

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