Komodo National Park in Indonesia, home to the famous and terrible Komodo dragons is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This unique ecosystem, accessible by boat from Labuan Bajo town, is home to these semi-mythical creatures, known as the largest lizards in the world: visitors are fascinated and come for a tour to see them up close, always accompanied by local guides,
On the island of Komodo they count for little less than three thousand specimens, while there are about 2,400 on the nearby islands of Rinca. In all the world there are little more than five thousand, scattered among the aforementioned islands and those of Flores and Padar. These beasts are not just carnivorous, but even cannibals and, not recognizing their offsprings, sometimes they eat them, as well as their peers in the absence of other sources of nutrition.
The little dragons often take refuge in trees to escape their parents: here they mainly eat birds. Once they reach adolescence and become large enough to defend themselves, they descend from trees.
But why are Komodo dragons so dangerous? Their lethal weapon is the poison of their saliva: their mouths produce bacteria that can cause infection and kill those who are bitten. Thanks to their venom, Komodo dragons may well attack also much larger beasts and eat them. They can attack buffalo, deer and wild boars, which once bitten slowly die, while the dragons wait for the poison to become effective.
Komodo dragons can live very long, even up to 65 years, although the average is 35-40 years. They can reach three meters in length, although the average is two. An adult dragon can weigh about 80 pounds. They are also extremely agile animals, able to swim, run and climb trees. So it is always best not to get too close.