Sunday, December 22, 2013

the eating habits of a dragon

The Komodo dragon has over 50 strains of bacteria in his mouth. Meaning, once the lazy creature bites his victim, he can back off and wait for it to suffer a slow, and imaginably painful, death. For larger creatures like the water buffalo, that's exactly what it does. The buffalo, otherwise, would maul the lizard to death - assuming both put on their boxing gloves. The buffalo lasts another three weeks after the bacteria from the wound seeps into its blood. The Komodo will keep an eye on it throughout the suffering until dinner is good and done for.

The other food option is the deer. Unlike the water buffalo, deer are small enough to be killed and eaten in one go. That is, if the deer meanders close enough to the dragon. Anything over 5 meters isn't worth running for, the Komodos reason. I'd have to agree.

But the Komodo isn't a partial creature. He'll eat humans too, if he's so inclined. All it takes is an unsuspecting victim to get to close, or the tempting smell of fresh blood from a menstruating woman. Which, our guide donning a long forked stick which was supposed to protect us in the off chance of an attack, said happened a few weeks earlier.

Either the woman was ill informed or wanted to live on the edge, but she entered the island tempting fate and luck was not entirely on her side... or, at least not the side of her guide. Her guide, in efforts to save her, plunged the long forked stick in the direction of the dragon. Unfazed, however, the Komodo plunged his mouth in the direction of the guide. The dragon succeeded, the stick did not. Once he got a bite in, the dragon was beaten into submission, and the guide's infected leg (along with the rest of his body) was life-flighted to Bali where the only vaccination lies. It took a solid week of recouperation, but the guide was OK in the end.

So they might look like unassuming and incredibly lazy creatures (which they are... lazy that is), but I kept an extra 5 meter's distance more than necessary between me and the Komodo, just to be safe.


Patti said...

I would have stayed out of biting range before I even knew about their hunting habits. Komodo dragons look scary!

ReL said...

That is one cool looking creature but definitely a zoom lens would be the only way I'd be getting close ups of him!