Earlier this month, a Singaporean tourist was severely bitten by a Komodo dragon on his left leg while visiting the Komodo National Park in West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara.
According to the park's head, this was the first incident of a human being bitten by the dragon in the past five years.
For those planning to visit the park, these are the tips to ensure your safety during your trip as quoted by kompas.com:
Always take an official guide with you
Instead of wandering around by yourself or staying with the locals, it is highly recommended to hire an official guide or ranger for your trip to the park as they have experience and knowledge regarding the animal.
Although Komodo dragons have bad vision, they still can hear you and have a powerful sense of smell.
An official guide always brings a long, double-branched stick to dispel the dragons and protect tourists.
Do not travel alone
If you want to visit the park, it is suggested to do it in a group and always follow the official trekking path.
Do note that Komodo dragons have the ability to camouflage themselves with their surroundings and may appear similar to a dead tree trunk. Therefore, it is advised to be careful when you are exploring the park.
Read also: Singaporean tourist bitten by Komodo dragon
Do not make any sudden movements
The Komodo dragons may look harmless and calm at a glance. However, if you make a sudden movement, like running, you may attract their attention and they may run after you.
They can also move quite fast, up to 18 kilometers per hour. Thus, when you are being chased, you may want to run in a zig-zag path as the dragons cannot do that.
Climb to a higher place
There are traditional wooden stilt houses available within the area. If you are being chased by the dragons, you may want to climb to a higher place, such as these houses, as the animal will have difficulty climbing the stairs.
However, you still need to be careful as young Komodo dragons, aged between one to two years, like to stay in trees. Also, as much as they love sunbathing, the cold-blooded dragons also like to cool down in shady areas and this may include under the stilt houses.
Avoid using a perfume
Due to their strong sense of smell, Komodo dragons have the ability to notice even the faintest smell. That is why official guides usually suggest that tourists do not wear any perfume.
Also, if you are on your early days of period or wounded, it is advised to tell your official guide because the dragons are sensitive to the smell of blood and may think it is their prey.