Travel in Indonesia: Trek for Komodo Dragons

Komodo dragons live on only five remote islands in southeastern Indonesia. 🐉🏝
42003225534_bf8a003172_oThe islands are volcanic in origin, and the terrain there is hilly, rugged, and covered in open plains.28847274998_422bf2f6ba_oSince they only live in a few remote locations, Komodo dragons are extremely vulnerable to extinction. Population size has decreased dramatically in the past 50 years due to humans destroying their habitat and killing their prey. There are currently less than 6,000 left in the wild. As such, the Indonesian government has made an effort to preserve their habitat in the Komodo National Park. The Komodo National Park encompasses four of the five islands where the dragons live: Komodo, Rinca, Gili Montang, and Gili Dasami. They can also be found on the island of Flores, which is not part of the national park, and where the dragon population continues to decline. 😢42672053002_9c86925127_oNow aside from this threat, Komodo dragons have no natural predators and are at the top of the food chain. They are the world’s heaviest lizard and also the deadliest.42003225394_334d53671c_oThey use their tongue to smell prey from over two miles away, and have venomous glands situated in their lower jaw, which releases a poisonous toxin with each bite. ☠27852282487_b81d633e3d_oAfter they bite the animal, they slowly track it for the following 2-3 days waiting for their poison to kill it. They are known to eat up to 80% of their body weight, and have no problems swallowing the monkeys, deer, and horses that live on this island. 😮40910761310_122a80c328_oAlthough they live on this remote island in Indonesia, they are also strong swimmers, and have been known to paddle elsewhere to find their next meal. 41820943725_66b5c9ff47_oCrocodiles and Komodo dragons? Don’t think I’ll be swimming near here anytime soon! ❌ 🏊‍♀️42672052532_6380ce89cc_oThey also have no problem eating their own babies, and their young will sometimes roll in feces to deter their blood-thirsty parents. 💩The picture below is an old nest where a female typically lays up to 30 grapefruit-sized eggs.42003225814_97db67ded0_oThe eggs need nine months to incubate, but the female usually abandons the nest after three months. When she returns after their birth, they know not to get near her for fear of being eaten! They will typically hid in trees for up to three years before feeling safe enough to come down! 😲🌳

40910761580_2c3569b956_o
juvenile dragon

When visiting this island, I was cautioned by my guide to keep a safe distance from the dragons, stay close to the group, and also not to even visit if I was menstruating, since the dragons would smell the blood and might attack.42672053162_d0c7430763_o27894599877_5465cfdef8_oLuckily, Komodo dragons are lazy, and prefer not to hunt humans. They would rather crawl into their graves and eat them after they’ve already been buried! 😲⚰41821144525_9cf3318486_oIt was truly unsettling to visit this gruesome and cannibalistic creature. Here I am trying not to look petrified! 🤣28890231868_9c4129be8a_oHere’s a short video from my visit. Watch as the big guy uses a tree to scratch his face!

How to Visit:

I chose to trek for Komodo Dragons on Rinca Island. This island is preferable over the others due to its smaller size. We did not have to walk much until we found heaps of dragons laying around. In fact, there were about 5 dragons hanging around the ranger station alone!41821143985_43fc1fc8e7_oTrekking on Rinca was also incredible for the view! 😍28847275088_849a8af3e7_o28847274928_43cd428900_oFrom the top of Rinca, we had views of the surrounding deep blue waters filled with regal sail boats, hilly islands strewn across the horizon, and vibrant green forests thriving near the coastline. 😍28847274798_9e2cbe5291_o
Cost: my trek was part of a 3-day scuba liveaboard in the Komodo National Park. That being said, if you fly into Labuan Bajo, there are 10-20 tour operators lining the streets that all offer competitive prices on one-day treks to search for the dragons. They usually combine it with a scuba or snorkeling trip too! I think it’s better to book on arrival as well, since you’ll get a better deal. 😉

Anyway, I hope you found this post helpful and inspirational enough to get you traveling to Indonesia, or really anywhere around the globe. 🌎40953845490_f0d286d23c_o

Up next I’m heading back home to the good ol’ U.S. of A. I might even put out some posts about great things to do where I’m from! Until then! 🇺🇸

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5 thoughts on “Travel in Indonesia: Trek for Komodo Dragons

    1. Yes, very scary! I asked the same question. They told me that they come down to eat, but then go back up. Because they eat such large amounts, they can apparently go at least a month between meals.

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