Home»Galleries»Dragons & Diving at Komodo Island, Indonesia - July 2016
Komodo Island is a small Indonesian island of under 400 square kilometers, which lies in the chain of islands that protrudes east from Java, to Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo, and then to Flores. Historically, it is famous as the primary home of the Komodo Dragon, in the Monitor family and the world’s largest living lizard. They grow up to ten feet long and over150 pounds. They are true carnivores, and they are known to hunt in a coordinated manner to ambush mammals, birds, and invertebrates. They also eat carrion. They have a keen sense of small – at one point, the photographer went ashore from the dive boat, to a deserted beach with no visible animals, and within five minutes there were three of these wonderful but large and intimidating creatures coming toward the visitors with deliberate speed. They have been known to attack humans, though, interestingly, our local guides were able to keep them at bay using nothing more than a ten-foot pole, with a “Y” at the end. They would put the Y against the shoulder of approaching dragons, and this seemed to do the trick.
The dragon’s bite is particularly dangerous, because, in addition to the trauma of the bite itself, these animals can inject a deadly venom. It was long thought that the dragons skill their prey by infecting it with pathogenic bacteria; but recent discoveries have shown that these lizards actually have “the most complex venom-delivery system known in reptiles.”