Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Komodo dragon attacks again

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that a Komodo dragon has mauled a tour guide in an Indonesian national park, just two weeks after a previous attack there by one of the giant lizards.

The reptile, over two metres, appeared when the guide passed its lair on Tuesday while he was trekking with four Indonesian visitors to Rinca island - one of two Komodo-inhabited islands frequently visited by tourists.

"He tried to protect himself with a stick but the Komodo was stronger and faster than him, and he was bitten on his right calf," said the administrative official of the Komodo National Park, Heru Rudiharto.

The 25-year-old guide named Abdurahman was taken to hospital on the nearby island of Flores where his wounds were being stitched, said Stefanus Jalak, a colleague who accompanied him.

Until recently, Komodos were believed to hunt with a "bite and wait" strategy - using toxic bacteria in their saliva to weaken or kill their prey before descending in numbers to feast. But recent research found that the dragons' jaws have highly sophisticated poison glands that can cause paralysis, spasms and shock through haemorrhaging.

They are native to several Indonesian islands and are considered a vulnerable species, with only a few thousand left in the world. Their normal diet consists of large mammals, reptiles and birds. Komodos, the world's largest monitor lizards, can grow up to three metres and typically weigh to 70 kilograms. Earlier this month one attacked two park employees, leaving them hospitalised with serious injuries.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-incidents/tour-guide-attacked-by-komodo-dragon-20130220-2eqdq.html#ixzz2LOzSStBb

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