Journey to Komodo Island, land of ferocious prehistoric dragons

Komodo Island is a place that time forgot. It is remote and pristine, and it is home to more than 1700 Komodo dragons, the largest lizard on earth. Massive and powerful, they can reach a length 3m (10 feet) and can weigh up to 166kg (366lbs). On average, a large male will top out at 100kg (220lb). They are known for their ferocity and their ability to take down prey much larger than themselves. Komodo dragons hunt mammals and birds, often lying in wait to ambush prey as it ventures close. Capable of reaching impressive speeds, a Komodo dragon can outrun actually an adult human. They occasionally attack unwary or irresponsible humans if the opportunity arises. They are not as capable of quick turns or sharp maneuvers, so it is possible to avoid capture or injury by running in a zig zag pattern. Komodo Island is in the heart of Indonesia, a beautiful collection of 1800 islands that are home to some of the earth's most amazing wildlife. The islands jut up out of the ocean, beautiful and inviting. Komodo Island is one of five islands in Indonesia where these gigantic lizards live in the wild. The Komodo dragon uses its tongue to detect food. It has such a powerful sense of smell that it can detect carrion almost 10km (6 miles) away. Dragons attack their prey and try to bite the throat when possible. They prefer to attack and kill prey immediately, but their saliva is so laden with bacteria that most animals that escape with bite wounds will succumb to sepsis and die. The Komodo dragon will track and eat these animals. They rip their prey into pieces in the case of larger animals, but they are able to dislocate their jaws to swallow prey as large as a small goat. These dragons have been known to ram the carcass of their meal into a tree to help force it farther in the dragon's throat. A tube under their tongue allows them to breath while their mouths are full. It can take up to 20 minutes to swallow a large meal. Komodo dragons can eat up to 80% of their body weight in one meal. Their reputation as ferocious predators is well earned. These giant lizards are apex predators for good reason.