Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Well, Komodo Dragons, We Finally Meet.

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I assumed that I would never get to see komodo dragons in real life.  After writing that Komodo Island was one of the five places I would never visit, and then booking a cruise to Komodo Island, only to wreck and wash up onto it in the middle of the night, I thought that we were being kept apart for a reason.

So when I ended up at the Chester Zoo in Chester, England — easily one of the best zoos in Europe — I casually ignored the dragon building.

“Don’t you want to see the dragons?” Dave asked me.

I shrugged sheepishly.  “I just don’t think we’re meant to meet.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

So we walked around and observed the other animals:

The pink flamingos perched on skinny legs.

A sad and despondent red panda who had no companions with him.

A group of endlessly entertaining meerkats.

By the time we left the meerkats, we were at the komodo dragon building again…and Dave convinced me that we had to go in.

So we did.  In a hot, moist building, I finally came face to face with the lizard.

We made eye contact.  She glared at me.  Slowly, one of her beefy, scaly arms landed in front of the other, crawling closer and closer, her nose almost to mine…

…And then she landed underneath the heat lamp and drowsily collapsed into its warmth.

Not as intimidating as I thought.

Fascinatingly, the first (or, according to some scientists, possibly second) instance of parthenogenesis in komodo dragons happened at Chester Zoo!  A female komodo dragon that had never had physical contact with a male dragon gave birth to a litter — fertilized by herself.

It happens in a few other species on occasion, but this was the first time in komodo dragons.  Freaky, huh?

So I finally got to meet the dragons, and I never imagined it would be in England.  Then again, I never imagined I’d cancel the end of my Asia trip to go to England.

Funny how that happens.

Looking to see wildlife around the world?  Why not consider Jamaica holidays?  From swimming with dolphins to gallavanting with macaws, there’s something for everyone on this Caribbean island!

Comments

15 Responses to “Well, Komodo Dragons, We Finally Meet.”
  1. Alex says:

    I love zoos! I have a post coming up this weekend about my trip to the Edinburgh Zoo… if you make it up to Scotland, its worth a trip for the amazing views alone. And for what its worth, its dragon free!

  2. Kris Koeller says:

    Funny how that works out. I was startled by that photo of you on the statue, but only for a moment before I realized it wasn’t real.

  3. Danielle says:

    Same here– I was almost fooled by the komodo dragon statue as well.

    It’s really interesting that female komodo dragons can fertilize themselves. I didn’t know that! Well, I guess no one else did either until it happened at the Chester Zoo.

    P.S. I really love the photo of the meerkats. They look like a fun group to be around.

  4. Amanda says:

    So you came face to face with the dragons at last! Haha. At least this time there was a sturdy pane of glass between you. 😉 Fun that you went to the zoo, though! I love zoos.

  5. HA! I can relate to travel situations seeming as though they’re never meant to happen. I’ve had that experience going to Myanmar – blocked both times for different reasons. Anyhow, that’s cool you embraced it & saw the dragons.

  6. Jeff says:

    “A sad and despondent red panda who had no companions with him.”

    Or because he’s in a zoo with millions of idiotic tourists staring at him 24 hours a day.

  7. Wow, who knew the Chester Zoo had so many cool animals. The Komodo dragon is sick! I really want to go to the Komodo Island you went to but not shipwreck. Or maybe shipwreck, why not lol. Nice pics,
    -Leif

  8. Sabina says:

    I hadn’t thought these dragons were so huge! I had imagined them to be the size of little lizards. I have a better understanding now of why you are (were?) afraid of them.

  9. Betti says:

    that’s a cool photo but scared the crap out of me at first glance!
    actually I never cared much about the dragons. I find them creepy. I would have checked them out and taken some photos…. but I would not have been upset if we had got a chance to visit and they had been hiding behind the bushes, all of them.
    I was there in the first place because I wanted to go snorkelling at Pink beach. remember what the German guy said about their dive that morning, that they saw some twenty white tip sharks?
    if we get 5 weeks off again for summer holidays next year…. I’m planning to go back.

  10. Emily says:

    I love Chester zoo! It’s sort of randomly great, since it’s not one of the world-famous zoos, but it really is quality. Last time I was there they also had a baby elephant, and I fell in love.

  11. Betti says:

    I said I was planning 🙂 maybe I freak out the second I step on a boat.

  12. vira says:

    There are komodos in Bali Safari Park as well *just a note*

  13. Nadia says:

    I used to go to Chester zoo as a kid all the time, did they always have Komodos? In a few month illbe going to Komodo Island so I bloody hope I havn’t already seen some and just thought they were big lizards! It makes me smile when visitors to the UK have something to say about anywhere other than the South 🙂

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