Wednesday, 13 April 2016

K IS FOR KOMODO DRAGON : A-Z Challenge

Welcome to Day 11 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. My theme is:


'Wildlife Encounters'


Edited extract from one of my articles published in Air Nuigini’s in-flight magazine. (This post is longer than my usual posts, but I'm hoping its entertainment value will make you feel it worth reading.)




The Komodo dragon, or Komodo monitor, is the world's largest and heaviest lizard. It has a tail so powerful, one swipe can break a buffalo's leg. It is said to disembowel its victim first to feast on the toothsome entrails.


Our small boat cruised into a deep, secluded inlet on the island of Rinca in the Komodo National Park. We followed a trail through mangroves to a small settlement of houses built on stilts(!) to meet our guide. A large lizard was reclining close by, immense and quiet as a crocodile. I was alarmed and fascinated in equal measure by his hypnotic lidless stare. So much fresh meat!

Arif, carried a forked pole. He explained that the forked end was fashioned to hold the lizard's mouth shut to prevent it from biting. No one pointed out the absurdity of expecting a flimsy pole to hold back a three metre long monster, jaws closed or not. Why scare the guide?
It was time for our dragon-spotting walk. 

We soon spotted a lizard plodding along about twenty metres from us. Arif appeared unconcerned. He paused to point out large mounds of disturbed earth. They were megapode nests.



Also known as incubator birds, megapodes are about the size of a domestic chicken. Unfortunately for megapodes, Komodo dragons target their nest mounds, either to lay their own eggs in them, or to steal the birds’ eggs.
Our lizard had now reached the mounds and began to dig.
A megapode bird arrived on the scene. 






What transpired next was like watching David take on Goliath. The plucky bird scratched the ground to unearth small stones and flick them at the lizard. I couldn’t believe this puny effort would have an effect, but the lizard paused in its digging. The megapode kept up the pressure, strutting perilously close to the lizard and continuing to flick stones at it. To our astonishment the animal gave up.


Heaving itself out of the hole, the dragon now turned its attention on the little group of spectators. 

Opportunistic and intelligent it began to approach us, tongue flickering as if tasting the air to pinpoint the juiciest victim. 

I was crouched down, absorbed with taking photos: my husband yanked me to my feet and drew me backwards. 

We need not have worried. Arif stepped forwards with his forked pole and pushed the animal’s head. The lizard turned aside and plodded away.

We smiled in surprised relief: a flimsy pole had vanquished Varanus komodoensis, the largest lizard in the world.


See you tomorrow – I’m heading south west. Can you guess where and what the next animal will be?



If you want to blog-hop to the next A-Z Challenge blog, please click HERE





30 comments:

  1. You got me there!!
    Lemurs on Madagascar... I rest my case! ;-)
    AJ at Ouch My Back Hurts

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  2. No one guessed Komodo Dragon. I could have gone for a cute koala, but the Komodo encounter was more exciting!
    Ah, lemurs... you'll find out tomorrow. :)

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  3. It's quite in an ugly kinda' way! So what's next? I guess t won't be a bunny rabbit!

    'Soon my child': a short story with 4 neglected K words!

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  4. Yeah - quite ugly, Keith, in a rather magnificent way. My next animal scores higher on the beauty scale - but you know what they say about it being in the eye of the beholder!

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  5. my first visit to your blog, interesting post, what comes next?

    http://www.obliqview.blogspot.in

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    1. Hi and thanks for visiting my blog. What comes next? You'll have to drop by tomorrow to find out! :)

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  6. Fascinating episode in your adventurous life. That pole illustrates that it is not might but knowing how to apply what might you have that wins the victory, right?

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    1. Thanks, Roland. You're quite right - Ali knew how to use his pole to best effect! :)

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  7. Komodos are amazing creatures and fun to watch on TV nature documentaries.

    I’m exploring different types of dreams and their meanings.
    K is for Knowing (Intuitive) Dream
    Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs

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  8. WOW I didn't know about this one until now! Love reading your blog, every time I learn something new! I see I was wrong about koala though :)

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    1. Yes, sorry Zeljka - I decided to forsake a 'cute' animal today. :)

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  9. Whoa! Heaviest Lizard! That's quite interesting and little scary as well :)
    Great post!
    Cheers,
    Srivi - AtoZChallenge
    K for Kite | Twitter

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    1. Thanks, Srivi. The lizards are incredible. Glad you enjoyed the post. :)

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  10. So glad that little pole worked!

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  11. OMG! You are so brave! Just like that little bird.

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    1. I'm not sure if I'm brave, Lizy. And as I've said before - the trick is to make sure there's at least one other person I can outrun! :)

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  12. komodo dragons! AHHHHHHHHHH! so freaking awesome! wouldn't want to have one beside me, but i think they are so cool.

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    1. They are fabulous, Djinnia - but I wouldn't want one to get too close.

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  13. These are scary beasts and I would not have wanted to be that close. They freak me out.

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    1. Birgit, I was surprised at how close we were able to get to potentially dangerous animals, but that's because I didn't understand how effective the safeguards actually were until they came into play.

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    1. Yes, these are truly the giants of the lizard world, Yvonne. :)

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  15. Amazing! I almost did Komodos! Do you know even their children are scared of them and hide in the trees as the parents are as likely to eat them as anything else? If only they had a pole, or could throw stones... I wonder if they can see that well? Must look it up. I should imagine being hit at a distance may make them a bit wary of they don't really know where the stones are coming from - they aren't too clever by all accounts!

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  16. According to my research, Komodos have relatively poor hearing, Liz, but there's nothing wrong with their eyesight - they can see well for about 300 metres. They were also reported as being intelligent and opportunistic.

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