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Komodo Dragons are Assholes.


Komodo Dragons are assholes! I’ll tell you why in a minute.


We headed to the Island of Flores for a long weekend. One of the main things to do is scuba and snorkel in the 30 or so islands in this giant nature preserve.  The other thing to do is see the Komodo Dragons.  


These are an Indonesian treasure and a UNESCO World Heritage site.  They live on the islands of Rinca and, of course, Komodo.  They must have been here for a very long time, for they look like dinosaurs.  


These 12 foot long lizards are born to be fighters.  

Here’s the basic start to their lives. A momma dragon digs her nest and lays her 15-30 eggs. Then she digs a bunch of decoy nests so predators get confused.  She also guards all these nests for the first three months, then she wanders off while the rainy season commences.  4 months later, as rainy season is ending, she comes back to her nesting site and waits. And when the babies hatch and crawl out of the ground, she eats them.  That’s right.  She hangs around and gobbles down own her young.


So, the first thing that a baby Komodo must overcome is the snatching jaws of its own mother.  The strategy is to emerge from the nest with a sibling, preferably a slower and less enlightened sibling and while momma gobbles up bubba, you make a run for the nearest tree where you spend the next 3 or 4 years of your life feasting on insects and geckos until you’re 1 meter in length whereupon you descend from the trees and become a ground dweller.


But, eating your young is not really the jerky thing I’m talking about.


All that is left after a komodo feast!
These ancient lizards are total carnivores.  They can bring down a water buffalo and digest the entire beast except for its skull.  The will digest and reduce the entire animal including the large bones to a long, chalky turd.

We’d heard tell of a Swiss man being separated from his group and taken down and all that was left was his glasses.  


When you look at these things you wonder how they do it.  They don’t run very fast. The can’t run far.  How do they kill something like a buffalo or a pig or a human?


The secret is their bite. They don’t have a venomous bite as once thought.  Rather, their mouth’s harbors some 16 types of toxic bacteria including Listeria which Jeni’s ice cream fans will recognize as the type of germ that shut down the factory.  I think Jeni should create a flavor called dragons breath, maybe with mango and tamarind in honor of their shut down.  But, that’s another matter.


So, this lizard has this dirty, filthy bite. And, when still, it looks like a log.  So, it camouflages itself around a watering hole and waits and then it leaps out and bites its victim.  If can get a good solid strike it will kill the animal then, but it doesn’t matter.  


If it survives the first bite, the victim now has an infected bite which often won’t stop seeping.  It roams the countryside dripping fluids. The lizard just stalks it. Day by day. Hour by hour. Until the victim succumbs and the feast begins.

And this, is why a Komodo dragon is an asshole. Can anyone name an animal, other than humans, who kills in such a tortured way?

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