Hunted by dragons

“My girlfriend, the skipper’s wife and myself were standing atop a steep-sided limestone islet poking up just off a beach on Horseshoe Bay, Rinca Island, Komodo National Park. And more company was on its way. A hundred metres down the beach the way we had come, a 2.5m dragon was following hot upon the flick-flick-flick of its tongue, moving toward us as though it were very late for lunch indeed.”

Read the whole story:  “Dragon’s Dinner Manque.”

Graham Abbott, a first-rate underwater photographic and natural history dive-cruise  leader based in Bali, is off to Komodo National Park. In response to someone’s note about watching out for the Komodo dragons, he compared these critters to big dogs. When I suggested they could resemble nasty  big dogs, he said he’d like to hear my story. So here it is.

In fact, the experts proffer  mixed opinions about how dangerous Komodo lizards are to humans. These opinions aside, I can testify that, properly appetized, they can indeed get interested in taking a piece out of you. Here’s one from Komodo Island, fairly used to people and docile, as these things go.

But I don’t want to over-dramatize matters. In fact it’s easy to find closely related monitor lizards right here in Bangkok’s canals and city parks. They’re smaller, but not that much smaller. Here’s a recent catch from Suan Rhotfai, just north of Chatujak Weekend Market (this specimen was about two meters long):

I’ve never heard of anyone being attacked, though that might be because Thais tend to detest big lizards so much, for reasons that have never been clarified for me, they never get close enough to be threatened.

Back to Komodo National Park, here we have Sara shooting a big lizard, never mind she’s a Thai, getting right up close and personal.

In fact they went on to become good friends.

2 thoughts on “Hunted by dragons

  1. From Facebook:

    Wilhelm Klein Those ‘dragons’ are really dangerous. When I was there, a little boy from the village had just been killed by one. There’s also the story of the Swiss photographer who disappeared. Only his camera was found tangling on the branch of a tree. If they killed a goat, they are not interested in attacking anyone for six weeks. But you never know when they had their last meal 🙂

    • I should have said to everyone–I doctored the shot of Sara with dragon in PhotoShop. Cuddling Komodo lizards is ill advised.

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