Are There Komodo Dragons In Thailand?

credit: Yay

Komodo dragons are undoubtedly the biggest lizards (not dragons) that you will see anywhere. These giants can be found on several islands in Asia and have been an attraction for tourists worldwide. So, can visitors in Thailand find Komodo dragons?

No, there are no Komodo dragons in Thailand, at least no free Komodo dragons. Tourists visiting Thailand often mistake the common giant monitor lizards for Komodo dragons. Some Komodo dragons are illegally smuggled into Thailand from their original habitat in the Indonesian Islands.

Related: Are there crocodiles in Thailand? | Are there tigers in Thailand?

There Are No Komodo Dragons In Thailand

Unfortunately for visitors to Thailand hoping to see Komodo dragons, the giant lizard does not roam free in Thailand. However, if you a desperate to see one, you can always try the zoo, but it is nothing like seeing one roaming free in its natural habitat.

Komodo dragon tongue
Yay Komodo dragon

Where Can You Find Komodo Dragons?

The Komodo dragon is found on very few small islands in the Komodo Indonesian Islands.

  • Flores
  • Rinca
  • Gili Motang
  • Gili Dasami

The islands are covered in hills that have both savanna grassland and forests. They are subject to a hot climate with temperatures searing to ninety-five degrees in the dry season. Yet, these high temperatures are what lizards, like the Komodo dragon, like.

Thanks to the fact that it lives on small islands with no competition regarding other predators, the Komodo dragon has evolved to become the biggest living species of lizard. No wonder people from all corners of the earth wish to see them. These giant lizards can grow up to ten feet in length and weigh up to one hundred and fifty pounds.

Interestingly, on some islands within the Komodo National Park, Komodo dragons are noticeably smaller and lighter than their relatives on other islands. Their smaller size is likely a result of the reduced number of deer on these smaller islands, leaving the Komodo dragons with less food to help them grow.

Some Komodo Dragons Are Illegally Imported Into Thailand

Due to the rarity and astonishing size of Komodo dragons, they are highly sought-after by various people (animal collectors, zoos, etc.).

Unfortunately, despite it being illegal, some people organize the poaching of Komodo dragons from their natural habitat and have them smuggled into Thailand and other countries. The lack of rangers to patrol the Komodo National Park enables criminals to poach the giant lizards.

Are Komodo Dragons Dangerous?

Komodo dragons are arguably the most dangerous lizards on the planet. They are big and muscular, but most crucially, they have venomous bites. Their predator physique, coupled with their venom, lets them ambush and hunt large prey, like horses, deer, boars, water buffalo, and on occasion, humans.

Komodo Dragon walking in the wild on Komodo Island
Yay Komodo Dragon walking in the wild on Komodo Island

So, people who value their life should only observe Komodo dragons from a safe distance. These big lizards can be aggressive even if unprovoked.

Though they may not kill you with a bite, as their jaw is not as strong as other apex predators, their razor-sharp teeth will deliver a lethal venom that can kill a person in just a few hours.

Fortunately, Komodo dragon attacks on humans remain rare, but some of the attacks have proved to be fatal.

Thailand Has Giant Monitor Lizards

Though Thailand may not have Komodo dragons, there are giant monitor lizards (a relative of the Komodo dragon) roaming around the country, including in the capital city of Bangkok.

Though these giant monitor lizards are not as big as Komodo dragons, they are often mistaken for the giant Indonesian venomous lizard.

Some videos online claim to show Komodo dragons in various settings in Thailand, but this is all footage of the giant Asian water monitor lizard. If you venture around Lumphini Park, chances are you will come across one of them. Luckily, they are not nearly as dangerous as Komodo dragons.

Are Monitor Lizards In Thailand Dangerous?

Luckily, monitor lizards are not nearly as dangerous as Komodo dragons. However, it would be best if you did not provoke them, as they can still deliver a nasty bite and possess long claws.

You should not run into problems as long as you keep a safe distance. Unlike Komodo dragons, they remain shy and prefer to avoid human contact, so they are unlikely to attack someone unless they are provoked.

What To Do If You See A Monitor Lizard In Thailand?

Do not be alarmed when you come across a monitor lizard in Thailand. They are primarily shy, so there should be no issue as long as you do not startle them.

If they feel cornered, they may defend themselves and attack. So, ensure that they do not feel threatened.

Large water monitor roaming the streets of Bangkok Thailand
Yay Large water monitor roaming the streets of Bangkok, Thailand

How To Avoid Problems With Monitor Lizard In Thailand?

Though monitor lizards generally avoid human contact, they can occasionally venture into urban areas. There are videos on the internet showing these big lizards walking into food stores and people’s homes.

If you would rather that a monitor lizard not stroll into your home while in Thailand, consider the following:

  • Ensure there are no gaps around your property. Seal holes (in the ground or fences) that a lizard could sneak through.
  • Be tidy with your trash. Do not leave your trash lying around the property, as a hungry lizard may want to see if there is food.
  • Trim trees around your property. Lizards can climb up trees and branches to hop into your property if they want to.
  • Keep your pets indoors when not at home. A hungry monitor lizard could see your pet as a good meal.

What Happens If A Monitor Lizard Bites You In Thailand?

You should head to the hospital as soon as possible if you get bit by a monitor lizard. Fortunately, their venom is not deadly to humans, but there is the possibility of a bacterial infection, which you want to avoid.

Difference Between Komodo Dragon And Monitor Lizard

Though they look very similar and come from the same family, Komodo dragons and monitor lizards have some significant differences that make one lizard much more dangerous compared to the other.

The biggest difference physically is in their neck and tail. Komodo dragons have a more intimidating look thanks to their thicker and more powerful necks and tails. Their overall size is also bigger; they can weigh forty pounds heavier than monitor lizards in Thailand.

Another major difference between the two is the strength of their venom. Though monitor lizards secrete venom when they bite, it is not lethal to humans. However, if an animal or human gets bit by a Komodo dragon, they could die within hours if not medically treated.