A juvenile Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis, ~1.5m) immediately greeted us when we arrived on the island as it rested on top of the small huts. The dragon got up and cutely dipped its snout under the tarp while flickering its tongue, determining if it could snag some of the cooked food below. Young Komodos have a tough life before they get large enough to stand their ground on land. Their biggest threat is actually adult Komodos which are highly cannibalistic. For this reason most of their life is spent in the trees… or on manmade structures. They are opportunistic predators when young, progressing from insects to skinks, snakes, birds, and small mammals, and eventually transitioning into pigs, deer, water buffalo, and even other dragons. Due to their cryptic nature, juveniles are seldom seen in comparison to the adults. We only saw a handful of them and were so fortunate to find a baby dragon just about two months old. After we spooked this one it jumped to a nearby tree and scurried to the ground, hastily headed to another tree.
Photographed in situ / after pursuit [1-3] on Komodo island, Lesser Sundas, Indonesia