The Year of the Snake

2012 was the Chinese Year of the Dragon, and I was sure that included Komodos, but the species is starting the Year of the Snake with a vengeance, too. Maybe it’s a serpent free-for-all this year. Another ranger was attacked in Komodo National Park today. A Komodo dragon ambushed one of the guides as he led visitors on a hike through the park. Also revealed in this article is that the attack two weeks ago occurred in one of the park’s front offices, where tourists check in. If all goes well, I’ll be one of those tourists someday. And after all that I’ve read and written about Komodo dragons, I’m still unsure how I feel about them. It’s a jumble of admiration and fear, repulsion and fascination, an uncertain mix that probably characterizes our regard of most alpha predators. I want to be standing in that front office and trekking across the island to see how the animals live and die. Yet it’s also the last place in the world I want to be. One thing I know, if I take that journey someday, it will be with a big walking stick.