Saturday, March 28, 2009

But are they as scary as sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads?

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Um... and notice the thing about climbing the ladder...

(CNN) -- An Indonesian fisherman has been killed by Komodo dragons after he was attacked while trespassing on a remote island in search of fruit, officials said Tuesday.

[snip]

Komodo dragons, the world's heaviest lizards, can grow up to 3 meters (10 feet) in length and have a toxic bite that they use to kill prey such as buffalo, returning to feast when the animal succumbs to the poison.

Despite their ungainly appearance, the carnivorous reptiles can run as fast as a dog in short bursts, jump up on their hind legs, and kill animals with a blow of their powerful tails.

Attacks on humans are rare, but Monday's incident is the latest in a series in which the monster lizards -- which have forked tongues and fearsome claws --have killed or injured people.

Last month a park ranger survived after a Komodo dragon climbed the ladder into his hut and savaged his hand and foot. In 2007 an eight-year-old boy died after being mauled.

In June last year, a group of divers who were stranded on an island in the national park -- the dragons' only natural habitat -- had to fend off several attacks from the reptiles before they were rescued.

Park rangers also tell the cautionary tale of a Swiss tourist who vanished leaving nothing but a pair of spectacles and a camera after an encounter with the dragons several years ago.

And these lizards have a whole national park for them to play in? There isn't a Mr. John Hammond in charge anywhere, is there?

Update 5/20/09: Their bite is not only filled with horrible bacteria, but venom.

13 comments:

Mahakal / מהכאל said...

Maybe they should post signs:

Here there be dragons.

Beware of dragon.

Etc.

ellroon said...

Or WTF are you doing here?

Ali said...

we have a grizzly conservation area nearby and I can't remember a single attack on humans. Them lizards is scary.

charley said...

the scary thing.

these things are running wild all thru miami.

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/southflorida/news/exotic2004.html

ellroon said...

Holy shit, Charley!
MIAMI -- Burmese pythons are wrestling alligators in the Everglades. African monitor lizards, ill tempered and up to 7 feet long, are splashing through canals in Cape Coral. Vervet monkeys hang around a car rental lot near Fort Lauderdale; Cuban tree frogs have colonized everywhere, gobbling native frogs as they go.

The southern end of Florida is teeming with exotic beasts. As if alligators, panthers and other native creatures were not enough, the steamy swamps, murky waterways and lush tree canopies here are a paradise for furry, scaly, clawed, fanged and otherwise off-putting things that have no business roaming this side of the equator.

"This stuff doesn't happen in New Jersey, it doesn't happen in Ohio, but in South Florida it happens constantly," said Todd Hardwick, whose trapping business gets 60 calls a day from people with caimans in their driveways and tool sheds.

Sorghum Crow said...

Komodo dragons are not just poisonous, their mouths are festering gobs of sepsis. So if you don't succumb to the poison, the nasty bacteria will get you. That is, if you manage to get away in the first place. Fascinating critters. My elder sprog did a report in the second grade and I learned all kinds of stuff.

ellroon said...

I won't go near the place without a flame-thrower, a bazooka, and a tank. Oh, and hip-waders....

Steve Bates said...

The Houston Zoo has one... or more; I'm not sure, but I've seen one. The "cage" displays the critter through a thick PlexiGlas (?) window, not bars, so all temptation to interaction... by the dragon and by humans... is completely cut off. One look at the thing, and you know you don't want to interact with it anyway. That's one scary-looking sucker.

Q: do they feed it patrons who don't pay their pledges on time?

ellroon said...

A: Probably not, but they do let you pay to visit them up close and personally....

Steve Bates said...

Now wait just a minute... that article talks about the world's largest lizard, but I know for certain that the world's largest lizard was in my high school band... <grin_duck_run />

(If you're not familiar with the reference, in marching bands, a "lizard" is someone who can't play and can't march, but likes hanging around with the band crowd.)

(Wow. My CAPTCHA text is "vader" ...)

ellroon said...

So.. a band lizard is one thing, but a banded lizard another?

So... where does a lounge lizard come in?

Wil Robinson said...

Forget the "climbing the ladder" thing.

What kind of animal attacks a group of people on dry land - repeatedly!

I have visions of the old Journey to the Center of the Earth with James Mason...

ellroon said...

That scared me to death when I was little....