Danger in the Low Latitudes
The Deadly Komodo Dragon
The Komodo Dragon is found mainly on the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gilr Montag and Padar. It is known as a fierce and deadly predator. A terrifying reptile, indeed! Its deadly qualities go much further than the razor sharp teeth it proudly displays. The secret of the Komodo Dragon lies in its saliva. If you are attacked by a Komodo Dragon, the likelihood of you living is extremely slim. If its teeth don’t kill you, chances are, its poisonous saliva will.Credit: big-animals.com
Researchers at the University of Melbourne have published evidence that the saliva of the Komodo Dragon is not only full of dangerous bacteria and disease, but venomous as well. Side effects of having Komodo Dragon venom in your system include swelling, lowered blood pressure, paralysis and a disruption of blood clotting. More or less, if you are attacked by a Komodo Dragon, you will most likely become paralyzed and slowly bleed to death. When your blood clotting system is disrupted, wounds do not seal up, and you are faced with a constant, steady flow of blood, until you run out. The effects of this giant lizard's venom are something that proves useful to them in their hunting. Often they will rip open their pretty, infecting them with deadly diseases and filling their system with venom. They will then follow their prey leisurely through the countryside, as it bleeds to death and/or succumbs to paralysis.
One very scary thing about the Komodo Dragon is the fact that it is so very difficult to escape. What makes the Komodo Dragon different from other predators? Perhaps it is because they are expert hunters (on many levels) with amazing physical abilities. One amazing physical trait that the Komodo Dragons has is an uncanny sense of smell. They are able to smell dead or dying animals up to six miles away. They “smell” their prey on the wind, using their tongue. It flicks in and out of their mouth constantly, picking up the scents of other animals.
“Well, they might be able to smell me, but they won’t be able to catch me,” you might think. Think again. Anyone who believes that they can outrun a Komodo Dragon is grossly mistaken. The Komodo Dragon might look big, ugly and slow, but it can increase its speed up to fifteen miles per hour in a matter of seconds. One moment, it is flicking its reptilian light pink tongue in and out of its mouth, lumbering around slowly and surveying its surroundings with beady reptilian eyes, and then, suddenly, like the June bugs come July, it takes off in hot pursuit of some unfortunate animal. The Komodo Dragon is also an excellent swimmer, which eliminates yet another escape option for their unlucky prey.
The Komodo Dragon has interesting hunting tactics- rather than killing and eating their prey on the spot, they usually rip into their prey, maiming it, and then they leave it to die a slow and painful death. The Komodo Dragon will the find the dead animal using its tongue to “smell” the air, and follow it’s scent. All the Komodo Dragon has to do is track down the animal, and then, presto, fresh meat! It’s almost as easy as going to the grocery store!
Komodo Dragons attacking humans is not unheard of. In fact, it has happened multiple times in the past decade. Komodo Island is a “national park” of Indonesia. Visitors are welcome there, and so are Komodo Dragons. It is said, that in some parts of the park, Komodo Dragons roam freely, and unrestricted. This means that at any time, a park visitor could stumble upon one of them. It’s safe to say that’s the last thing the poor, unsuspecting visitor would stumble upon. In 2007, a young boy at the tender age of eight was viciously attacked and killed by a Komodo Dragon, at an Indonesian park. In 2009, an Indonesian fisherman was mauled and killed by Komodo Dragons, after unlawfully entering one of the parks. Rumor has it, that once a rather unfortunate Scottish explorer stumbled upon a ferocious Komodo Dragon, and all that was left of the explorer was his binoculars and spectacles. Besides that, there was no evidence of his death- the Komodo Dragon had devoured it all.
Komodo Dragons may sound like something from a horror story, but in reality, they are a deadly predator. What makes the Komodo Dragon so deadly? It is the combination of amazing physical abilities, stellar hunting tactics, venomous saliva and their uncanny sense of smell. These attributes make this giant reptile not only a deadly predator, but one of the deadliest predators in the low latitudes.