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Komodo Dragon Attack Human

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Komodo dragons attack the deer on the shore

Young Komodo dragons sometimes fall prey to predatory mammals, birds and other Komodo dragons. Juveniles live in trees as protection until they are large enough to defend themselves. While they have no natural predators as adults, Komodo dragons do suffer from human poaching. Their populations are also threatened by habitat destruction and prey depletion. Komodo dragons are the largest species of lizard. The largest individuals reach over 10 feet in length and pounds in weight. Komodo dragons are important in their ecosystems as both predators and scavengers. While most of their diet consists of carrion, they are capable of killing animals much larger than themselves.

Prey animals include goats, pigs, deer, wild boar, horses and water buffalo. In the wild, adult Komodo dragons usually weigh around 70 kg lb , although captive specimens often weigh more. The Komodo dragon has a tail as long as its body, as well as about 60 frequently replaced, serrated teeth that can measure up to 2. Its saliva is frequently blood-tinged because its teeth are almost completely covered by gingival tissue that is naturally lacerated during feeding.

Where lizards typically have one or two varying patterns or shapes of osteoderms, komodo's have four: rosette, platy, dendritic, and vermiform. Additionally, these osteoderms become more extensive and variable in shape as the Komodo dragon ages, ossifying more extensively as the lizard grows. These osteoderms are absent in hatchlings and juveniles, indicating that the natural armor develops as a product of age and competition between adults for protection in intraspecific combat over food and mates.

As with other varanids, Komodo dragons have only a single ear bone, the stapes , for transferring vibrations from the tympanic membrane to the cochlea. This arrangement means they are likely restricted to sounds in the to 2, hertz range, compared to humans who hear between 20 and 20, hertz. This was disputed when London Zoological Garden employee Joan Procter trained a captive specimen to come out to feed at the sound of her voice, even when she could not be seen. The Komodo dragon can see objects as far away as m ft , but because its retinas only contain cones , it is thought to have poor night vision.

It can distinguish colours, but has poor visual discrimination of stationary objects. As with many other reptiles, the Komodo dragon primarily relies on its tongue to detect, taste , and smell stimuli , with the vomeronasal sense using the Jacobson's organ , rather than using the nostrils. The scales around the ears, lips, chin, and soles of the feet may have three or more sensory plaques. The Komodo dragon prefers hot and dry places and typically lives in dry, open grassland, savanna, and tropical forest at low elevations. As an ectotherm , it is most active in the day, although it exhibits some nocturnal activity. Komodo dragons are solitary, coming together only to breed and eat.

For shelter, the Komodo dragon digs holes that can measure from 1 to 3 m 3. They serve as strategic locations from which to ambush deer. Komodo dragons are apex predators. When suitable prey arrives near a dragon's ambush site, it will suddenly charge at the animal at high speeds and go for the underside or the throat. Komodo dragons do not deliberately allow the prey to escape with fatal injuries but try to kill prey outright using a combination of lacerating damage and blood loss. They have been recorded as killing wild pigs within seconds, [40] and observations of Komodo dragons tracking prey for long distances are likely misinterpreted cases of prey escaping an attack before succumbing to infection.

Komodo dragons eat by tearing large chunks of flesh and swallowing them whole while holding the carcass down with their forelegs. For smaller prey up to the size of a goat, their loosely articulated jaws, flexible skulls, and expandable stomachs allow them to swallow prey whole. The undigested vegetable contents of a prey animal's stomach and intestines are typically avoided. A Komodo dragon may attempt to speed up the process by ramming the carcass against a tree to force it down its throat, sometimes ramming so forcefully that the tree is knocked down. Because of their slow metabolism, large dragons can survive on as few as 12 meals a year. After regurgitating the gastric pellet, it rubs its face in the dirt or on bushes to get rid of the mucus, suggesting it does not relish the scent of its own excretions.

The eating habits of Komodo dragons follow a hierarchy, with the larger animals generally eating before the smaller ones. The largest male typically asserts his dominance and the smaller males show their submission by use of body language and rumbling hisses. Dragons of equal size may resort to "wrestling. The Komodo dragon's diet is wide-ranging, and includes invertebrates , other reptiles including smaller Komodo dragons , birds, bird eggs, small mammals, monkeys, wild boar, goats, deer, horses, and water buffalo.

Sometimes they consume human corpses, digging up bodies from shallow graves. The Komodo dragon drinks by sucking water into its mouth via buccal pumping a process also used for respiration , lifting its head, and letting the water run down its throat. Although previous studies proposed that Komodo dragon saliva contains a variety of highly septic bacteria that would help to bring down prey, [43] [47] research in suggested that the bacteria in the mouths of Komodo dragons are ordinary and similar to those found in other carnivores. Komodo dragons have good mouth hygiene. To quote Bryan Fry: "After they are done feeding, they will spend 10 to 15 minutes lip-licking and rubbing their head in the leaves to clean their mouth Unlike people have been led to believe, they do not have chunks of rotting flesh from their meals on their teeth, cultivating bacteria.

The observation of prey dying of sepsis would then be explained by the natural instinct of water buffalos , who are not native to the islands where the Komodo dragon lives, to run into water after escaping an attack. The warm, faeces-filled water would then cause the infections. Researchers have isolated a powerful antibacterial peptide from the blood plasma of Komodo dragons, VK Based on their analysis of this peptide, they have synthesized a short peptide dubbed DRGN-1 and tested it against multidrug-resistant MDR pathogens.

Preliminary results of these tests show that DRGN-1 is effective in killing drug-resistant bacterial strains and even some fungi. It has the added observed benefit of significantly promoting wound healing in both uninfected and mixed biofilm infected wounds. In late , researchers at the University of Melbourne speculated the perentie Varanus giganteus , other species of monitors, and agamids may be somewhat venomous. The team believes the immediate effects of bites from these lizards were caused by mild envenomation. Bites on human digits by a lace monitor V. In , the same researchers published further evidence demonstrating Komodo dragons possess a venomous bite. MRI scans of a preserved skull showed the presence of two glands in the lower jaw. The researchers extracted one of these glands from the head of a terminally ill dragon in the Singapore Zoological Gardens , and found it secreted several different toxic proteins.

The known functions of these proteins include inhibition of blood clotting, lowering of blood pressure, muscle paralysis, and the induction of hypothermia, leading to shock and loss of consciousness in envenomated prey. Other scientists have stated that this allegation of venom glands "has had the effect of underestimating the variety of complex roles played by oral secretions in the biology of reptiles, produced a very narrow view of oral secretions and resulted in misinterpretation of reptilian evolution. Mating occurs between May and August, with the eggs laid in September. These males may vomit or defecate when preparing for the fight. Therefore, the male must fully restrain the female during coitus to avoid being hurt. Other courtship displays include males rubbing their chins on the female, hard scratches to the back, and licking.

After cutting themselves out, the hatchlings may lie in their eggshells for hours before starting to dig out of the nest. They are born quite defenseless and are vulnerable to predation. A Komodo dragon at London Zoo named Sungai laid a clutch of eggs in late after being separated from a male company for more than two years. Scientists initially assumed she had been able to store sperm from her earlier encounter with a male, an adaptation known as superfecundation. After Flora's eggs' condition had been discovered, testing showed Sungai's eggs were also produced without outside fertilization.

The zoo has two adult female Komodo dragons, one of which laid about 17 eggs on 19—20 May Only two eggs were incubated and hatched due to space issues; the first hatched on 31 January , while the second hatched on 1 February. Both hatchlings were males. Komodo dragons have the ZW chromosomal sex-determination system , as opposed to the mammalian XY system. Male progeny prove Flora's unfertilized eggs were haploid n and doubled their chromosomes later to become diploid 2n by being fertilized by a polar body , or by chromosome duplication without cell division , rather than by her laying diploid eggs by one of the meiosis reduction-divisions in her ovaries failing. When a female Komodo dragon with ZW sex chromosomes reproduces in this manner, she provides her progeny with only one chromosome from each of her pairs of chromosomes, including only one of her two sex chromosomes.

This single set of chromosomes is duplicated in the egg, which develops parthenogenetically. Eggs receiving a Z chromosome become ZZ male ; those receiving a W chromosome become WW and fail to develop, [67] [68] meaning that only males are produced by parthenogenesis in this species. It has been hypothesised that this reproductive adaptation allows a single female to enter an isolated ecological niche such as an island and by parthenogenesis produce male offspring, thereby establishing a sexually reproducing population via reproduction with her offspring that can result in both male and female young.

Attacks on humans are rare, but Komodo dragons have been responsible for several human fatalities, in both the wild and in captivity. According to data from Komodo National Park spanning a year period between and , there were 24 reported attacks on humans, five of them fatal. Most of the victims were local villagers living around the national park. Komodo National Park was founded in to protect Komodo dragon populations on islands including Komodo, Rinca, and Padar. Komodo dragons generally avoid encounters with humans. Juveniles are very shy and will flee quickly into a hideout if a human comes closer than about metres ft. Older animals will also retreat from humans from a shorter distance away. If cornered, they may react aggressively by gaping their mouth, hissing, and swinging their tail.

If they are disturbed further, they may attack and bite. Although there are anecdotes of unprovoked Komodo dragons attacking or preying on humans, most of these reports are either not reputable or have subsequently been interpreted as defensive bites. Only very few cases are truly the result of unprovoked attacks by atypical individuals who lost their fear of humans. Volcanic activity, earthquakes, loss of habitat, fire, [26] [12] tourism, loss of prey due to poaching , and illegal poaching of the dragons themselves have all contributed to the vulnerable status of the Komodo dragon.

A major future threat to the species is climate change via both aridification and sea level rise , which can affect the low-lying habitats and valleys that the Komodo dragon depends on, as Komodo dragons do not range into the higher-altitude regions of the islands they inhabit. Based on projections, climate change will lead to a decline in suitable habitat of 8. Without effective conservation actions, populations on Flores are extirpated in all scenarios, while in the more extreme scenarios, only the populations on Komodo and Rinca persist in highly reduced numbers. Rapid climate change mitigation is crucial for conserving the species in the wild.

The most recent attempt was in March , when Indonesian police in the East Java city of Surabaya reported that a criminal network had been caught trying to smuggle 41 young Komodo dragons out of Indonesia. The plan was said to include shipping the animals to several other countries in Southeast Asia through Singapore. In , the total population of Komodo dragons in the wild was assessed as 3, individuals, declining to 3, in and 3, in Populations remained relatively stable on the bigger islands Komodo and Rinca , but decreased on smaller islands, such as Nusa Kode and Gili Motang, likely due to diminishing prey availability.

Komodo dragons have long been sought-after zoo attractions, where their size and reputation make them popular exhibits. They are, however, rare in zoos because they are susceptible to infection and parasitic disease if captured from the wild, and do not readily reproduce in captivity. More attempts to exhibit Komodo dragons were made, but the lifespan of the animals proved very short, averaging five years in the National Zoological Park.

Studies were done by Walter Auffenberg, which were documented in his book The Behavioral Ecology of the Komodo Monitor , eventually allowed for more successful management and breeding of the dragons in captivity. A variety of behaviors have been observed from captive specimens. Most individuals become relatively tame within a short time, [87] [88] and are capable of recognising individual humans and discriminating between familiar and unfamiliar keepers.

This behavior does not seem to be "food-motivated predatory behavior. Even seemingly docile dragons may become unpredictably aggressive, especially when the animal's territory is invaded by someone unfamiliar. In June , a Komodo dragon seriously injured Phil Bronstein , the then-husband of actress Sharon Stone , when he entered its enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo after being invited in by its keeper. Bronstein was bitten on his bare foot, as the keeper had told him to take off his white shoes and socks, which the keeper stated could potentially excite the Komodo dragon as they were the same colour as the white rats the zoo fed the dragon.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Largest living species of lizard. For the similarly-named web browser, see Comodo Dragon. Temporal range: Pliocene — Holocene , [1] 3. Conservation status. Endangered IUCN 3. Ouwens , [3]. Play media. Main article: Parthenogenesis. Reptiles portal Indonesia portal. Bibcode : PLoSO PMC PMID Bulletin de l'Institut Botanique de Buitenzorg. Retrieved 6 March Scientific American. Bibcode : SciAm. The London Times. London, UK. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. The third eye: Race, cinema, and ethnographic spectacle. Durham, N. ISBN Komodo Foundation. Retrieved 25 October American Museum of Natural History. Archived from the original on 23 November Retrieved 7 June National Wildlife Magazine.

Archived from the original on 20 February Komodo Dragons: Biology and Conservation. Zoo and Aquarium Biology and Conservation Series. Washington, D. National Geographic. Retrieved 8 November Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 19 June Archived from the original on 7 March Retrieved 15 January Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Retrieved 30 September Biology Letters. Australian Journal of Zoology. Scott Systematic Biology. Australian Geographic. Retrieved 6 September Wilson New York: DK Publishing. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books.

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