Dragons Still Thrive on Komodo Island

July 06, 2011
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Camouflaged and immense, Komodo dragons will eat almost anything, including the deer, pigs and smaller lizards found on their native islands. In rare instances, these ancient dragons have even eaten humans, according to National Geographic. Their massive 300-pound scaly, muscular bodies are an exciting aspect of nature travel to Komodo National Park during International Expeditions’ new Bali to Komodo expedition cruise.

The Komodo dragons were once part of a local tradition which required feeding them leftover parts of deer or goats. It created a friendly relationship with the dragons, but U.S. conservation projects to protect the endangered animal provided the animals with a more natural hunting ground so their feeding became self-sufficient. This increased the number of dragons on Komodo Island.

When a dragon attacks its prey, it bites them with its serrated teeth, killing the animal not only with its bite but with its saliva. Dragon saliva has over 50 strains of bacteria in it, poisoning the victim's blood within 24 hours.

Ancient taboos on Komodo Island forbid harming the dragons, which is likely why they survived there while nearing extinction elsewhere. Still, they are endangered, totaling just 3,000 to 5,000 on the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Gila Montang, Rinca and Flores.

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