If you plan on a vacation in any of Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands, you have the distinct possibility of encountering a Komodo Dragon. While that may seem kind of cool to some, there are serious dangers if you encounter one of these giant lizards. They are the apex predators of these islands and to a Komodo Dragon, EVERYTHING is on the menu.
The Komodo dragon, also known as the Komodo monitor, is a member of the monitor lizard family Varanidae that is endemic to the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang.
According to National Geographic:
What is the Komodo dragon?
Reaching up to 10 feet in length and more than 300 pounds, Komodo dragons are the heaviest lizards on Earth. They have long, flat heads with rounded snouts, scaly skin, bowed legs, and huge, muscular tails.
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Komodo dragons have thrived in the harsh climate of Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands for millions of years. They prefer the islands’ tropical forests but can be found across the islands. Though these athletic reptiles can walk up to seven miles per day, they prefer to stay close to home—rarely venturing far from the valleys in which they hatched.
As the dominant predators on the handful of islands they inhabit, Komodo dragons will eat almost anything, including carrion, deer, pigs, smaller dragons, and even large water buffalo. When hunting, Komodo dragons rely on camouflage and patience, lying in wait for passing prey. When a victim ambles by, the dragon springs, using its sharp claws, and serrated, shark-like teeth to eviscerate its prey.
The Komodo dragon has venom glands loaded with toxins that lower blood pressure, cause massive bleeding, prevent clotting, and induce shock. Dragons bite down with serrated teeth and pull back with powerful neck muscles, resulting in huge gaping wounds. The venom then quickens the loss of blood and sends the prey into shock.
Animals that escape the jaws of a Komodo will only feel lucky briefly. Dragons can calmly follow an escapee for miles as the venom takes effect, using their keen sense of smell to home in on the corpse. A dragon can eat a whopping 80 percent of its body weight in a single feeding.
Translation, you do not want to come face-to-face with one of these reptiles if at all possible. Before you visit any of Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands, watch the video below, doing so could just possibly save your life.