The Amazing Wildlife of the Komodo National Park | Wildlife Part 2
We have already heard about the famed Komodo dragon — of course. But did you know that there are so many different species at this national park that are rarely talked about but no less brilliant to see?
We cannot wait to show you within this article the numerous amount of creatures we can find in the wilderness of this beautifully preserved and protected national park. Let’s see!
Rusa timorensisTimor Rusa Deer
The main prey of the Komodo dragon, these deers are native to the Indonesian islands. When walking through the main trails of Komodo Island, you may be lucky enough to spot curious deer who seem to not fear humans much anymore.
Their coat is of a reddish-brown from June to September which turns to dark grey-brown during the other months of the year. The Timor Rusa Deer are very vocal when threatened so do not worry if you hear a loud, shrill bark when trekking through the forest.
If you decide to visit the national park during the spring, you may be lucky enough to spot fawn with their mothers shortly after birth. How cute!
Varanus KomodoensisKomodo dragon
The main attraction of the island with an incredibly fitting name, the Komodo dragon is the largest lizard on earth. Once you have set foot on the real Jurassic Park, which is any of the five islands that have these incredible dinosaurs-like creatures, you will feel like you just took a machine back in time!
The Flores islands of eastern Indonesia is one of the only places in the world where you can watch these beasts in the wild. These big lizards grow up to 3 meters in length and have a weight of about 135kg! You will most likely see them roaming around the park casually, sunbathing, or relaxing close to the shade. However, did you know that the Komodo dragons can run up to 20km/h? That’s pretty fast for such a big lizard.
Doing a hike up the numerous trails of the island will grand you amazing views of the island, as well as close-up, looks at the dragons themselves.
With a national park ranger at your side, you do not have to worry as these marvelous creatures roam all around the island before your eyes. If you head over to the south of Rinca, you can maybe even spot these big guys swimming in the Flores sea!
The Komodo Island itself has 1,727 Komodo dragons, 1,049 on Rinca Island, 58 on Gili Motang Island, 57 on Nusa Kode, and six in Padar.
Bubalus ArneeWater Buffalo
A sparse grey-black coat and huge, crescent-shaped horns, this isn’t your ordinary bull. The Asian buffalo — or the water buffalo — stands proudly at 6ft tall. They are the world’s largest bovines and have the strength to pick up a lion’s weight with only its horns. They did got gain the nickname “The living tractors of the East” out of nowhere.
They live mostly in herds from a few to hundreds of buffalo. In the Komodo National Park, some have even been domesticated within the few villages on top of the hills and are used as cattle for their milk and their strength. This is, of course, in exchange for protection from the thousands of dragons that naturally prey on these big bulls. You can spot these wonderful creatures in various villages around Rinca, Padar, or Komodo Island.
Acerodon MacklotiSunda Flying Foxes
Sadly this isn’t exactly the first kind of Bat-cave that comes to mind but it won’t disappoint you! Bat Island, or Kalong Island, is a secret island off the edges of Flores. It is one of the best-kept secrets of the local people. This is due to it being full of, well — bats!
You will spot these flying creatures proudly fly across the orange-tinted sky in the late afternoon, making the sunset even more magical. Why not check these big bats dwelling around the islands. These particular ones are the Sunda Flying Foxes, with wingspans that extend to up to 1m!
These are magical creatures you can truly enjoy on a yacht or traditional Phinisi.
Acerodon MacklotiTropical Birds
So many birds are endemic to this particular region and are certainly a good enough reason to look up during your treks in the Komodo Island forest or when you’re sailing through towards Rinca Island.
The Flores hawk-eagle (Nisaetus floris) is a large raptor and a great rare find! A bright red head with a chocolate-brown back and wings. Watch them as it flys low against the steep mountain slopes of the Komodo National Park’s hills.
Hear the amazing chirps of Wallace’s hanging parrot (Loriculus flosculus), these colourful birds are predominantly green, with a red bill, a red spot on the throat and are completely endemic to the region of Flores. See if you can spot one!
The Leaf lorikeet (Trichoglossus weberi) — or the Flores lorikeet — are beautiful birds that are part of the rainbow lorikeet species. Of course, this is suitable due to their incredibly green and yellow feathers and small, orange beak.
Apart from all these amazingly colourful birds, the islands of Flores even have their own type of crow! The Flores crow (Corvus florensis) is an endemic species that fly alone, or in pairs and sometimes up to 6 individuals. They are fast flyers that create an interesting buzzing sound as they glide through the tropical forest. When you are on Rinca island, you may fall in love with these dark creatures that beautifully contrast the colourful island itself.
Snakes in the Komodo
There are over 10 species of snakes in the Komodo National Park. They slither through the terrain of the islands and are not known to causing any harm to humans.
On the Komodo Island itself, there is the Lesser Sunda Pit Viper. You will see them from afar by their bright blue scales that give them a magical appearance. Their lack of camouflage makes them slightly more apprehensive and fearful, so be sure to keep a healthy distance away from them while watching them sunbathe. Park rangers are trained to handle snakes so there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to these slithery friends.
The Russel’s Viper is perfectly camouflaged on the dead leaved floor — it is a beautifully coloured snake, with scales having different shades of brown. When feeling threatened, these snakes huff and puff with the huge amount of air they store away in their long bodies. These tactics are often used when it is confronted with the bigger lizard of this island: the Komodo dragon.
Did you know how we can differentiate between a non-venomous and venomous snake? Look at their eyes! If they have thin, black, vertical eyes — you should probably think about staying away from them…
Macaca fascicularisCrab-Eating Macaque
With mostly a diet of fruits and seeds, these smaller macaques can be seen hanging through the trees of the Komodo National Park or hunting on its ground.
At only 24 to 26 inches tall, they use their tail to provide balance in between swings from treetops. These macaques are often linked to many spiritual beliefs and are an important part of mythology in some local cultures around the island.
Did you know that they are also part of a more matriarchal society? This means that the group is more orientated towards the female line of succession. Males tend to be more tenuously connected with the group.
Paradoxurus hermaphroditusAsian Palm Civets
These cute, smaller mammals are the Asian Palm Civets. They are often hiding in the mountain treetops. They are solitary and nocturnal animals, resembling small possums and it gave them the names “weasel cats”.
You are more likely to spot these cuties resting in tree holes, inside rock crevices or among vines along with the different trekking options on Komodo Island. Keep an eye out for their young, that follow their mother in springtime! Aw.
Paradoxurus hermaphroditusKomodo National Park’s flora and its eco-system
When visiting the Komodo National Park, you must keep in mind the seasons as the climate radically changes the view of the park itself. A lengthy dry season with high temperatures and low rainfall, and seasonal monsoon rains dramatically change the landscape. This makes it worth seeing the National Park twice, grass-wood Savana lands, or the monsoon-ridden forests are unique experiences in themselves.
What usually grows on the islands are various food tree species for the local fauna to gnaw on. Not many terrestrial plant species are seen due to the changing climates and the earth prioritized adaptive plants that retain water, such as various grasses, shrubs, orchids, and fire-resistant trees.
Why is it that one of the beaches on the Komodo Island pink, is it due to the wildlife?
It is caused by the Foraminifera, a microorganism that produces the pink/red color pigment on the coral reef. The broken coral reef pieces are then washed ashore and contributed to making what used to be a white sand beach — pink! There are at least 5 beaches around the area of Labuan Bajo.
How can I go see these incredible animals and experience the wildlife of the national park?
Ranging from the beautiful to the strange, you will never get bored of what the Flores Sea and Komodo National Park have to offer.
Sailing on a liveaboard like the traditional Indonesian Phinisi grants you up to 3 dives a day. This is the perfect chance to really capture the unique marine life and it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for passionate master divers or curious newbies.
Never dove before? Enquire with us so we can let you know how you could acquire your open water directly on board. Ready to go? Click here to see our Indonesian fleet.