Komodo Island Facts
Komodo Island is in South East Asia and is one of the thousands of islands that make up the Republic of Indonesia. It is home to the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard on Earth, which is named after the island. Komodo Island is listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and makes up part of the Komodo National Park.
Komodo Island Facts for Kids
- Komodo Island is part of the Lesser Sunda Island chain in the province of East Nusa Tenggara.
- It has a surface area of 150 square miles (390 km2) and a population of around 2,000.
- In 1980 the Komodo National Park was created, it is made up of 3 main islands, Komodo, Pandar and Rinca, and several smaller ones, with an approximate total area of 1,130 squares miles (1,817 km2) including land and water.
- Komodo also has a famous pink sand beach, one of only 7 in the world. Pink beaches are formed when the red shells from tiny creatures called foraminifera combine over time with white sand to creating a pink color.
- Pink beach is also a popular place to go diving with hundreds of types of soft and hard corals and thousands of different species of fish.
- Komodo Island is famous for its Komodo dragons. The Komodo dragon is a monitor lizard and it is unique to Komodo and some of its nearby surrounding smaller islands. They can reach up to 10 feet (3 meters) in length and can weigh more than 300 pounds (136 kg). The female dragon lays eggs from which the young hatch.
- The island’s highest point is the peak of Gunung Satalibo at 2,411 feet (735 meters).
- It is believed western Komodo Island formed during the Jurassic era (130 million years ago) with the east of the island being formed more recently 49 million years ago in the Eocene era.
- The Komodo National Park islands are made up of volcanic rock. Although there are no longer any active volcanoes within the park, tremors are common.
- Temperatures on Komodo Island range from 170°C to 340°C, with almost none or no rainfall for 8 months per year, followed by a lot of rain during the remaining 4 months spanning the Monsoon season. From April through October winds are dry and waves hit the south shores and from November through March large waves land on the western side of the island. High up mountain peak and ridge forests have high levels of humidity all year round.
Question: Why was the Komodo National Park created?
Answer: The Komodo National Park protects the natural environment on and around Komodo Island from damage by humans and their activities. The park was originally created to protect the Komodo dragon, which is unique to the area, although more recently it aims to protect all wildlife, particularly the hugely varied amount of marine plants and animals. The area is a very special place where marine life passes between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
Question: Are Komodo dragons poisonous?
Answer: Komodo dragons produce a poisonous substance called venom. When they bite into their prey, the venom is released into the wound they create. It makes the animal they have attacked bleed more and enter a state of shock, making it easier for the Komodo dragon to finish their attack. If their prey escapes they are able to follow it long distances thanks to their strong sense of smell.
Komodo dragons have been known to eat up to 80% of their total weight in one meal and they can eat even large animals such as deer, pigs and water buffalo. They have been known to attack humans, although this is quite rare. Several people have died in recent years because of Komodo dragon attacks, although with many more people now visiting the area to see them, there are increased encounters between humans and the dragons.