“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.