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The Komodo dragon is a huge animal that is considered to be the largest lizard in the world. Historically, its ancestors roamed the earth half a million years ago. Now these amazing creatures are found in several locations including Komodo Island, which of course is the home to the prehistoric creatures, Rinca and in several nearby islands in the Indonesian archipelago. The islands are classified as semi-arid. If you cannot visit these islands, you will find that you will be able to see the Komodo Dragons in zoos across Indonesia.
Komodo Dragons are considered the last of their kind remaining in the world today. They are characterized by their short legs with large talons, a stout body and very long tails that can be used to crush an opponent. They can also grow up to 3 to 4 meters in length and run at speeds up to 15 miles per hour. Their long, forked tongue allows them to test the air for scents. The Komodo dragon has a long, forked tongue that it uses to test the air for scents. Their eyesight is good for distinguishing movement and color but not very good in low light. They also have a severely limited frequency range that they can hear (400-2000 Hz).
They are good swimmers and are able to prey upon a variety of species. Young komodo dragons feed on insects and small lizards but as they get older they begin to eat mice and other small mammals. Adult komodo dragons prey on pigs, goats, deer, young buffalos, horses and basically anything that they are able to catch.
Komodo dragons are solitary lizards and usually come together only to mate and feed on carrion. At night, komodo dragons sleep in caves or in gullies and among tree roots. They come out to feed in the morning. Female komodo dragons lay between 20 and 40 eggs in a hole in the ground. The Komodo dragon is protected by law and although they are considered harmless, it is advisable to keep them at the distance.
Komodo Island is a small island that covers an area of 280 square kilometers that lies between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. It is now a nature reserve and is home to a number of rare bird species, deer and wild pigs which are prey to the lizards.
Komodo Island can be accessed by traditional local sailing boat from Sape Harbour in Sumbawa East Coast or from Labuan Bajo. Scheduled local flights from Denpasar, Bali are also an option however Sape is a convenient point of departure for trips to Komodo Island as its just across the strait.
Visiting Komodo Island also gives you the opportunity to visit Sumbawa which has some interesting sites to visit. The former palace in the town of Bima has been transformed into a museum devoted to the ancient Kingdom of Bima.