Just when we thought that we have already escaped the Komodo dragons we actually had one more encounter with them in the Trip of Wonders.
Trekking in Rinca Island
Right after conquering Padar Island, we head to a small island nearby called Rinca Island. Known to be the dwelling place of these giant lizards that measure up to 3 meters long, this island is thriving with mangroves.
It is said that the living conditions of the locals living here are often difficult, not only because of the lack of development and facilities but also because the komodo dragons are left out in the wild. Therefore, they have to take extra care while going through their daily activities.
After we had lunch, the rangers gathered us around for some brief orientation, things to keep in mind during the short trek, and off we went!
Loh Buaya was our start off point for our trek. The island is lesser known than Komodo, making it less disturbed for its inhabitants. Aside from the giant lizzards, wild pigs, buffalos, deers and many birds inhabit this place, adding more diversity to what you can expect to see in the forest.
Komodo dragons are excellent hunters with a great sense of smell. They are known to knock down their preys with their powerful tails. In fact, these two komodo dragons belowactually showed us how fearful they can be by battling for dominance and whipping one another with their tails. What is to be feared, however, are the poisonous glands on these giant lizards’ lower jaws. Their glands inject toxic proteins to render preys immobilized.
As opposed to what one might easily think, though, komodo dragons are actually very clean eaters. While their mouths are a pool of septic bacteria, they also have a rigorous cleaning routine.
All throughout our trek on the island, our attentive tour guides had long sturdy stick with them, duty-bound to keep any attacks from happening. We were told of a story of a man who was bitten and he had to be flown all the way to Bali for treatment. Yup, that’s modern day Godzilla tail we had to bare in mind while treading the forests!
Spread throughout the selected spots on the island are the neglected nesting spots which we found during our 1 kilometer trek.
The mating season begins in June and July then around 20 eggs are laid by the month of September. Eggs would then begin hatching after 8 months of incubation. Interestingly, the gender of a komodo dragon is dependent on the temperature in which inception takes place!
Komodo Dragons are cannibalistic and have been known to eat their own children and eggs from other nests. This leaves their babies in danger so they would have to dwell on trees to stay away from the predators, including their own kind. We were told all these trivias while standing on top of the nesting place, overlooking a branch where a baby komodo dragon lies on.
Our 1km tour ended after the nesting sites and we emerge back at the orientation grounds. It didn’t take long for us to complete this trail as we were all quite obedient, not wanting to take much snaps during the tour (:D). There are other trails for the braver souls but, luckily, we took the shortest trail possible.