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The Komodo Dragon.

On New Year’s Day in 2018, we were fortunate enough to see 8 Dragons at the watering hole on Komodo Island in Indonesia. The tension was thick as half a dozen rangers stood by holding thick, Y-shaped sticks to stop any dragon that tried to attack visitors. These were not animals that had grown comfortable with humans being around, ignoring them in some nonchalant manner. No.

Show me a Komodo Dragon

They watched us with the eyes of hungry predators. Calculating.

If the rangers hadn’t been there protecting us, we would have been lunch.

The only thing that distracted them from wanting to eat us, was them fighting with each other.

When Komodo Dragons are born, there is no familial care. They young scurry up the nearest tree trying not to be eaten by their own parents. Survival is all they know, or care about. As we watched this group of 8 interact, I wondered if they had allies within the group, or whether each served only its own needs. They seemed to walk around looking for a fight.

The big ones average 6-10′ (2-3m) long at about 150-180lbs. (70+kg) – and as you can see in this video, that’s pure muscle. There’s no getting fat and lazy here. Komodo National Park is not a glorified zoo. It’s a place to go to watch truly wild animals exist in their natural habitat. Despite the human presence, I think these Dragons are doing exactly what they would be doing whether the humans were there, or not.

This video shows a fight between a couple of the big ones. The back and forth is a little slow, but it is powerful.

When one Komodo Dragon takes a tail smash to the jaw from its rival you can hear the smack, and the resulting howl of pain.

That had to hurt. I don’t think a Dragon would risk displaying weakness otherwise.

This was easily the highlight of our Komodo Island boat tour. You can watch a video of our boat tour highlights here.

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