KOMODO DRAGONS

 

We spent a week on the beautiful sailboat (Sea Safari) below traveling from Komodo National Park to Bali. We snorkeled around the Komodo National Park with its incredible coral reefs. After the boat trip, we visited Bali and Java and then went on to Borneo’s Tanjung Putting National Park to see orangutans (click on the underlined if you want to see those pictures).

 

 

 

 

The Sea Safari anchored in Komodo National Park. During the dry season, the islands show only sparse vegetation.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking south, the island on the horizon is Komodo Island. To the left is the island of Rinca.

 

 

 

 

We saw our first dragons on Rinca. They can move pretty fast. Komodo dragons are the largest lizards on earth and are completely carnivorous.

 

 

 

 

This is a male dominance display. The fellow on the bottom gets “claw-raked” telling him who’s the boss.

 

 

They’re fierce and prehistoric looking. They prey on mammals and birds. The larger mammals such as water buffalo they bite and wait until the animal dies from the infection caused by the bacteria in their saliva (e-coli, h-pylori).

 

 

The ranger told us that a dragon had bitten a water buffalo 10 days ago. We found a muddy water hole where the buffalo just had died. Dragons who had followed the sick animal were trying to rip it apart. That wasn’t easy since everything was too slippery to get a good grip.

 

 

 

 

 

We watched their attempt to get into the buffalo for over an hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because the buffalo was partially in the shade and the mud cooled the dragons, they had to warm themselves periodically in the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, they ripped the belly open and the feeding frenzy started. The park ranger told us that in 19 years he had never witnessed the tearing apart of a buffalo, he only had seen totally stripped carcasses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our way to Bali, we stopped at an island not normally visited by tourists and saw this colony of fruit bats (flying foxes). They’re nocturnal but some of them were disturbed by our presence and flew around.

 

 

 

Their wing spans are up to three feet and they fly distances in excess of hundred miles. They only feed on fruits.