Real dragons spurt no fire, have no need to fly and cast no magic spells. And still, one look from them might render you speechless. These komodos, the real life dragons, are a sight indeed. Gigantic, the lizard-like creatures are about two or three meters in length. They can easily weigh about 165 kilograms. Despite of their sheer size and appearance, they are not active hunters. What makes them intimidating is the fact that they are a patient predator. In the wild, they stalk a victim, usually a weak or injured one. One bite and that's what it usually takes. After following the victim for a while, sometimes up to several days' time, the komodos will devour the dying prey.
The Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is an endangered species which can only be found in the Komodo National Park (KNP) in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). Because of the unique and rare nature of this animal, KNP was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.
The park includes three major islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and numerous smaller islands together totaling 603 km2 of land. The total size of Komodo National Park is presently 1,817 km2. Proposed extensions of 25 km2 of land (Banta Island) and 479 km2 of marine waters would bring the total surface area up to 2,321 km2.At least 2500 Komodos live in this area. Large dragons are usually three meters long and weigh up to 90 kg. Their habitat has beautiful panoramic views of savannas, rain forests, white beaches, beautiful corals, and clean blue seas. In this area, you can also find horses, wild buffalo, deer, wild boar, snakes, monkeys, and various types of birds.
Your feet will be your trusted companion on this island. Good thing most people never leave home without them. When you wish to see these animals in their natural habitat, you have to walk to the hills nearby (paths have been designated). On Komodo Island, you have to climb Mount Ara (538 meters above sea level) for three to four hours. On Rinca island, you have to trek for about one and a half hours. If you are lucky, you can see Komodos attacking prey, fighting, or even employing their mojoes along the way, as illustrated by this picture on the left. If that's too wild for you, you can try to spot a group of deers, buffaloes or wild horses.