The Komodo Dragon – Indonesia
‘Komodo National Park’ takes in an area of approximately 1000 sq km. The park gained its name from the very animals that it protects, the Komodo Dragons. The park is known locally as the lesser Sunda islands of Rinca and Komodo, Gili and Montang. The sparsely vegetated arid volcanic landscape offers little available water and is considered to be to inhospitable to anyone or anything except the Komodo Dragon.
One Bite will Kill
In the breeding season males are drawn into savage conflict with other males; however the Komodo Dragon is usually a solitary creature that daily monitors and defends his area, only allowing other dragons access through when on a food mission. An attack on prey will usually occur as a solitary process, however when the animal is maimed Komodo Dragons will join forces and using their teeth as expert killing machines will finish the victim off.
The carnivorous and cannibalistic dragon will attack any animal from a deer, pigs, water buffalo and have even been known to attack small humans; with their huge serrated teeth they can inflict terrible damage. Once bitten the attacked creature will die, there is no chance that the wound will recover as the bacteria on the teeth and in the saliva will cause death to the animal within a relatively short period of time. For larger animals such as the water buffalo death can occur approximately two to three weeks after being bitten. Toxins from the saliva create infection invading the central nervous system weakening the victim until finally death occurs. David Attenborough in his program ‘Life’ describes the dragon as having venom like a snake. The venom can take several weeks to bring down a full sized water buffalo. The dragons’ strong sense of smell will alert them that death is imminent and they will stay close to their victims gradually closing in on the weakened prey. Dragons will often finish off the animal and will then begin their feeding frenzy that will last until there is nothing left of the animal. Dragons have been known to strip a buffalo to the bone in just 4 hours.
Komodo Dragon Information
Komodo Dragons live from 20 to 40 years. It is only during breeding season when these reptiles have any form of socialization, and that is as a direct result of a need to breed. The male dragon needing to gain information about the female’s receptiveness to breeding will initially flick the female dragon with his forked tongue; he will then scratch the female’s back with his claws. If the female dragon does not want any advance she will inflate her neck and hiss loudly, alerting the male to her being unreceptive to his advances.
The female dragon will generally use an abandoned Brush Turkey nest in which to lay her clutch of around 30 eggs and when hatched the baby dragons are roughly 15 inches long, weighing about 3.5 ounces.
Dragons have been known to swim from one island to another; however, remarkable as it may be, they have remained within the confines of the park. The reptilian appearance of the dragon has caused them to be mistaken for crocodiles. The elongated shape of the dragon and its ribbed bone structure could indeed allude to this mistake.
The Komodo Dragon is considered to be the only reptile that still rules the land, dominating in its surrounds because it has no competition. However because of the uniqueness of the animal and its relatively small numbers, it has been included on the list of the worlds endangered species.
Do not underestimate the dragon and care should be taken when visiting the island. To ensure safe passage through the Komodo National Park it is strongly advised to use the services of a guide.