It turns out the Komodo dragon does not kill with its poor oral hygiene after all.
I always thought that Komodo dragons took down their prey with toxic halitosis — the story was they’d bite their dinner, and then let it crawl into the forest where it could die from a raging bacterial infection, after which, they’d dine at their leisure. Did that seem like a strange explanation to me? I don’t know, when I first read it, it made an odd kind of sense, as much as anything in nature. I mean, explain the platypus, or those freaky bacteria that eat sulphur, or the chilling ascendancy of the nerd.
Komodo dragons, according to the New Scientist: “… live on three Indonesia islands, repeatedly slash at their prey until they are weak enough to eat. They can take down a 40-kilogram Rusa deer, and kill a full-grown human.” The New Scientist does not mention that they can grow to a length of ten feet and weigh 300 pounds. Oh, and you should know that they hunt in packs and can fly and each Alpha male has a frickin’ laser attached to his head. Okay, but they have killed people.
Yep, you read that right. But now a shot of antibiotics and a tree can’t save you. You have to have serious medical attention to counter their poison — which, by the way, is contained in a giant sac under their jaws, so how did we miss it before? Okay, maybe it’s not a “giant sac”, but it is, according to recent studies a “big bulge”, which contain “huge venom glands opening to ducts at the front of the jaws.”
Now, for those of you who like to worry about these kinds of things, you should know that your chances of being attacked by a Komodo dragon are extremely rare. There are only about 5,000 left on earth, and most of them are hanging around the airport in Paris.
But at least they brush their teeth.