Komodo National Park, home of the world's largest lizard

Eco-tourists and herpetophiles (reptile lovers), as you plan your summer vacations, consider visiting Komodo National Park and its unique inhabitants. This group of islands in Indonesia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of 28 finalists for the New7Wonders of Nature, which will be announced in November. Oh, it's also the only place in the world where you'll find Komodo dragons, the world's largest extant lizard species. They're about as close as you'll get to living dinosaurs.

A type of monitor lizard, Komodo dragons grow about 10 feet long and can weigh about 300 pounds (more than a baby elephant). They eat pigs, deer, carrion and even each other. About 5,700 of these prehistoric-looking lizards roam the national park created to conserve them.

If you're not up for chasing these massive lizards (or being chased by them -- they're quick on their feet), Komodo National Park is also known for its diverse marine environments. Its waters are popular for diving and host over 260 species of reef-building coral, 70 species of sponges and over 1,000 species of fish.

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A Komodo dragon roams Komodo island, the largest island in Komodo National Park.

Komodo dragons on Rinca island, one of three main islands in Komodo National Park.

A wild deer on Komodo island.

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A Komodo dragon drinks from a pond on Rinca island.

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A close-up. The bite of a Komodo dragon delivers venom that inhibits blood clotting.

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Life-size wood carvings for sale on Komodo island.


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