Endangered Komodo dragon saliva to die for

komodo_dragon

Komodo Dragon  Varanus komodoensis is the world’s longest as well as the heaviest lizard in the world, weighing in at 150 pounds or more. It has gray scaly skin, a pointed snout, powerful limbs and a powerful muscular tail.

The saliva is poisonous and can make a man very ill  if bitten.  Scientists have collected saliva and blood sample to make an anti-venom and to analyze for its possible medicinal uses.  The saliva of the dragon contains at least 4 types of toxic bacteria. The dragon’s tooth serrations harbor bits of meat from the dragon’s last meal.

Komodo dragons also frequently bite through their own gums as they eat. The saliva and blood combination and the protein-rich residue in the teeth grow lots of bacteria.

If  bitten by a Komodo, the bleeding will be profuse and are slow to heal. Although a dragon is not always successful in immediately bringing down a large animal, the bitten animal usually dies soon after, usually within a week. Infected by the bacteria, its wounds become  septic. The Komodo dragon will keep tracking  the weakened animal, harassing it until the animal finally dies of bacterial infection and exhaustion.

The odd fact is that  if a Komodo is bitten by another Komodo, it doesn’t suffer any ill effects – they have a natural immunity. The anti-coagulating properties of the Komodo’s saliva, and natural immunity to each others saliva is being investigated for human medical applications.

Komodo dragons can run at 14-18 km/hr over short distances, using their short, powerful legs armed with sharp claws.It lives in the scrub, open grassland, tropical savanna, tropical forest  and woodland of a few Indonesian islands, on the Lesser Sundu archipelago of Indonesia.
They use their keen sense of smell to locate decaying animal remains from several miles away. They also hunt other lizards as well as large mammals and are sometimes cannibalistic.

Komodo Dragon is endangered due to hunting, habitat loss, decrease in its prey and poaching.


Resources

Excerpts courtesy of   http://www.nwf.org/nationalwildlife

Image courtesy of

http://animal.discovery.com/guides/endangered/reptiles/komodo-dragon.html

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