Cryptid Wiki
Cryptid Wiki
Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis, a species of dinosaur often compared or speculated to be an ancestor to the Kawuk
Nusakambangan map from AMS in UTexas Library
Map of Nusakambangan, showing the location of the prisons
Type Living dinosaur
First Sighting Unknown
Last Sighting 2014
Country Indonesia
Habitat Jungle
Possible Population Small to medium

The Kawuk is a cryptid native to the Indonesian island of Nusakambangan. It is depicted as a reptilian creature, bipedal in stance, and known to act hostile, even attack humans.


Javanese pike 1

Javanese pike or spear head in the form of a bipedal reptilian creature, with shorter forelegs and digitigrade hindlegs.

Nusakambangan locals know the Kawuk as a vicious corpse eater. The locals say that the Kawuk have the shape of a monitor lizard, four limbs, and are carnivorous. Their sense of smell is very strong, just like the Komodo dragon, but the difference between the two creatures is that the Kawuk “stands”, and wildly attacks humans on sight. They also exhibit pack-hunting traits, and are usually seen when darkness falls. Because of this, locals of the island prefer not to store the corpse or carcass of any creature in their homes.


As reported by Merdeka News in 2014, Heri, a fisherman and guide of the island, saw the creature with his friends. A pack of Kawuks were tracking his deceased friend’s corpse. Prior to this, one of his friends had died near the village of Solok Timur. At that time, it was very late and the corpse had to be moved to a ship so the Kawuks wouldn't attack. Because about 10 or so Kawuks had arrived, they hurriedly moved the corpse.

Reported sightings like this are rare because few media agencies come to the island. Movement of people in and out of the island is also controlled by authorities.

The Island[]

Komodo Dragon

An explaination for this cryptid might be a relic population of largest species of monitor lizards, komodo dragons

Nusakambangan island is very isolated. At 12000 ha, it only has about 3000 residents, making it sparsely populated. Nusakambangan is also dubbed “The Indonesian Alcatraz”, because the island is home to the country’s most guarded prison. To escape from the prison may mean certain death since the island is mostly virgin jungle with wild animals. The Indonesian government has dedicated the island as a nature reserve.

Electricity in the island is very scarce. Generators must be turned on when night falls. Village residents usually stay in their home at night. If someone wanted to go out, they must at least carry a Golok (traditional machete) as a form of self defense from the islands wildlife.


Komodo Standing

Komodo dragon standing


Model of a herrerasaurus

  • Kawuk might be an undocumented species of monitor lizard, although known monitor lizards don’t have pack hunting traits, and don’t “stand” all the time like the Kawuk.
  • It might also be a relic non-coelurosaur small theropod or a herrerasaur.
  • Also to be noted, Komodo dragons are usually rather docile toward the locals of the island they reside. The locals of Komodo island consider Komodo dragons as their brother from a different species. The Kawuks on the other hand, wildly attack humans even though the humans are natives of the island.


  • The Great Indonesian Language Dictionary (KBBI) has an entry for Kawuk. It is simply stated that the Kawuk is a “Giant monitor lizard from Nusakambangan island”.

See Also[]