when i was a little kid, my parents took me to some zoo, and i was absolutely shocked and amazed to see that the zoo had dragons. they were *huge* scaley and loooked freaky as hell. Komodo Dragons are actually techinally a species of monitor lizard, but to me these enormous monsters were almost as good as the real thing. actually, some people think that belief in dragons originated from people who saw these giant reptiles. there are very few of these dragons on earth, and they only live on two small islands off the coast of Flores: Komodo island and Rinca island.
we took a boat from Labuanbajo to Rinca along w/ Keith and Josh, two british guys that we met at our hotel. when we arrived, we nervously got out of the boat and walked towards the ranger station. we had good reason to be nervous. the dragons are huge, growing larger than 10 feet long and their bite is often fatal due to insane amounts of bacteria in their mouths. these guys eat their prey whole, and can swallow an entire goat all at once! add to that the fact that they can run faster than humans and things get a bit sketchy. at the ranger station we got a guide (who was armed with a big stick) and we were on our way. only a couple minutes later, we saw dragons. we were passing by the ranger’s cafe, and this is apparently an area where the dragons congregate cause they smell food.
it was really quite a sight! there were 6 or 7 of them ranging from tiny little 2 footers, to one huge one that was probably about 10 feet long! most of them were just laying around and not doing anything.. somthing that reptiles are quite good at. the ranger tried to throw some stuff near them to get them to move around, but they weren’t having it. only the smaller little guys would run about, eating small bugs and stuff. on one hand, we kind of hoped the huge beats would do something exciting, but on the other hand, it was probably good not to have them get too crazy!
our guide then took us on a hike around the island. we saw the skeleton remains of a buffalo that was eaten by dragons. we also saw one live buffalo munching on grass and also saw some monkeys. that was pretty much it! of course, the island was beautiful w/ some incredible views, but we were hoping for a bit more wildlife. and we also didnt see anymore dragons that day.. apparently they’re just too lazy to wander very far from the cafe!
after taking a few last photos of the dragons by the cafe, we left the island. even though the dragon experience had been rather short, i was still so excited to have gotten to see them! it’s something i’ve been interested in ever since i was small, and really, not everyone can say that they’ve seen a real dragon!