Since 1974, Komodo dragons have killed at least 4 people although they actually prefer smaller prey or feeding on carrion. They are huge animals themselves so it’s no surprise then that they can take down wild boar, deer and water buffalo.
The Komodo dragon is uniquely adapted to its habitat and blends into the landscape adapting an ambush strategy to attack their unsuspecting prey. For a large animal, they are also exceptionally fast on their feet and deliver a venomous bite.
These attacks on people were documented in 1974, 2000, 2007, and 2009. The last one took place when a man fell from an apple tree and lay dazed on the ground. As a general rule, Komodo dragons prefer raiding graves to killing people, so the natives on the island frequently pile rocks over their loved ones’ tombs as a deterrent.
Don’t worry if you are taking a safari of Komodo Islands the park rangers who supervise the tours are highly experienced and there to keep you safe.
The Komodo dragon is highly evolved to exist in its island habitat and they are very able swimmers. Often they swim the long distances between islands in search of prey and can be spotted up to a mile from the shore.
3. Land Crocodiles
The Komodo dragon is a term coined by the western scientists. These amazing creatures were not discovered until 1910 by Lieutenant van Steyn van Hensbroek who went to Komodo Island after hearing stories about giant lizards. He killed a dragon and sent the skin and several photographs to Peter A. Ouwens, director of the Zoological Museum and Botanical Garden in Bogor, Java.
The Latin name for the creature is Varanus komodoensis and locals call them Ora which means land crocodile in the Mangarrai dialect. Weirdly Varanus is the Latinization of the Arabic word Waran which means monitor and the Egyptians believed these lizards served as monitors, alerting people to the presence of crocodiles.
4. Grave robbers
Komodo dragons love nothing more than an effort-free meal. Like many other reptiles, they have forked tongues which pick up microscopic, airborne particles. These can sense a dead body over 2 miles away. After these sensors have been exposed to the air they are retracted and inserted into the Jacobson’s organ in the roof of the mouth. This enables the reptile to identify the flavours it has picked up and set off in search of a tasty, free dinner.
5. Naga, The President of the USA’s Dragon
George Bush, while halfway through his term as president was given a male Komodo dragon called Naga by the Indonesian government. While the idea of letting this majestic lizard prowl the lawns of the White House was tempting the critter ended up at Cincinnati Zoo. Here he became a valued member of the team and fathered 32 youngsters before passing away in 2007 at the age of 24.