07/18/2012 - 07/18/2012
We visited Komodo National Park to see the dragons on our way in from diving. Our great guide for the trek had been bitten by one this spring and had to spend a week in the hospital.
We were amazed at how incredibly beautiful they are. Their size, power, and coloring were stunning.
Info: This endangered species has existed for millions of years, but their existence was unknown to humans until 100 years ago. They live in the harsh climate of a handful of the Lessor Sumba islands.
Heaviest reptile on earth
They average 3 meters in length and 150 kg (10 feet long, 330 pounds)
They can run up to 18k (11mph)
Will eat almost anything, including carrion, deer, pigs and even large water buffalo and humans
They use their sharp claws and serrated, shark like teeth to eviscerate their prey. If an animal escapes their jaws it will usually die of blood poisoning within 24 hours as the dragons' saliva has over 50 kinds of bacteria. The dragons calmly follow the escaped prey for miles until the poison takes effect. A Komodo dragon can eat 80% of its body weight in a single feeding.
They bury and incubate their eggs for nine months. The mother sits on them for the first three months, then leaves and the babies have no parental care when they are born. We had the luck to have a rare siting of a baby in a tree. The first time we passed, we could only see the body and the second time we could see just the tail and the head. We also happened to be there during the mating season and saw a courting ritual in which the male ambled over and approached a female and sat there, smelling everyone around with its giant forked tongue.