Komodo Island in Indonesia, a part of Komodo National Park, has been famous for its Komodo Dragons. By taking a boat from Labuan Bajo, you can reach Komodo Island within 1.5-2.5 hours by boat. Before visiting the island, it is always good to know some useful Komodo Island facts.
Komodo Island Facts
As a home for thousands of Komodo dragons, here are interesting Komodo Island facts you should know:
- In 2011, Komodo Island is listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
- This 390 km² (150.6 sq. miles) island has approximately 2000 population.
- The temperature on the island ranges from 17°C to 34°C (62°F to 94°F), with dry winds from April through October, and large waves from November through March.
- The highest point of this island is Gunung Satalibo, at 735 meters (2411 ft.).
- The famous Pink Beach of Komodo Island is one of the only seven in the world. It is formed from the cracked red shells (of a tiny creature called foraminifera) combined over time with white sand.
- Around Komodo Island, there are approximately 1000 species of fish and more than 250 species of coral reef.
- To enter the Komodo National Park (Komodo Island, Rinca Island, Padar Island), it is required to pay the entrance fee in addition to other fees, such as ranger fees, hiking fees, canoeing fees, diving fees, snorkeling fee, etc.
- Besides Komodo dragons, Komodo Island is a home for about 4000 birds and 25 different endangered species.
Facts about Komodo Dragons
This island is dedicated for the Komodo dragons, and here are the Komodo Island facts about the Komodo dragon itself:
- It is estimated that there is 6000 population of Komodo dragon spread among Komodo Island, Rinca Island, and smaller surrounding islands in Western Flores, Indonesia.
- The Komodo dragons can grow up to 3 meters (9ft.) in length and weigh more than 136 kg (300 lbs). It is known as the ancient largest lizard species on earth with vulnerable to extinction status.
- Komodo dragons use ambush strategy to catch their prey, i.e., matching well with the dirt and wait for an unsuspecting animal to pass by. Then by their running skill, they catch and kill their prey by a poisoning bite and saliva with its shark-like teeth. However, deer are the favorite food of the Komodo dragons.
- Komodo dragons are also known as cannibals of baby dragons, and younger Komodos will cover themselves in feces and the intestines of dead animals to avoid being eaten.
- Komodo dragons can swallow food down as much as 80% of their body weight, and due to their slow metabolism, they can survive on as little as one meal a month.
- Komodo dragons usually mate between June and July when females are eight, and males are seven at age, and this is when you might witness male Komodo dragons fighting over females.
- Females will then lay eggs in September for up to 15-30 eggs after taking over nests made by brush turkeys and deepening the holes by two meters, with several additional holes near the real nest in an attempt to camouflage it from predators such as snakes or boars preying on the eggs.
- Komodo dragon's mothers incubate their eggs for three months, then leave the nest, and return nine months later when the eggs are about to hatch. Only female care about their eggs, not the juveniles.
- Once hatched, newborn Komodos will live on top of a tree to avoid predators and survive by eating lizards, small snakes, birds, or mice, and stay in the trees until they reach 3-5 years of age.
- These solitary animals are capable of running rapidly up to 18-20 km (11-12.4 miles) per hour, diving up to 4.5 m (14.8 ft.), and climbing trees since young to sunbathe in the morning and to help them digest their food, then go back to shady areas to cool down. This means a perfect time to see Komodo dragons is in the morning when they are basking in the sunlight.
- Komodo dragons can also swim up to 300 meters (984 ft), and this is how they move between neighboring islands, mainly those of Komodo, Flores, Rinca, Padar, and Gili Motang.
- Komodo dragons can eat a lot of carrion and detect a carcass as far as 10 km (6.21 miles) away. This is unfortunate for humans living among the dragons, as they can feast on the recently buried, so people switch from sandy-ground graves to clay-ground graves with a pile of rocks added on top for good measure.
- Komodo dragons can live up to 40-50 years, and their ages can be identified by the number of small yellow dots near the eyes: the more yellow dots it has, the younger a Komodo dragon is.
- Surprisingly, in 2006, some researchers verified that the female Komodo dragon could reproduce asexually through a process called parthenogenesis, depending on their environmental conditions.
- Komodo dragons only exist in Indonesia; therefore, many scientists and naturalists come here to study this animal's evolution.
Komodo National Park Facts
To protect Komodo dragons endangered species, here are some facts about Komodo National Park:
- Established in 1980, Komodo National Park, which was originally established to protect the Komodo dragons, consists of 3 main islands – Komodo, Padar, and Rinca – and several smaller islands with an approximate total area of 1.817 km2 (0.7 sq. miles) including land and water.
- In 1991, Komodo National Park was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
- Islands in Komodo National Park are made up of volcanic rock. Although there is no longer an active volcano, tremors are common.
- One of the interesting Komodo Island facts is that there is a local ancient taboo that strictly forbids harming the Komodo dragons. Therefore, they have survived here while becoming extinct elsewhere. The government had also issued protection on the lizards in 1915.