Ed Yong from Not Exactly Rocket Science has a post up about Komodo dragons and how scientists have finally caught on to one of their tricks. It was previously thought that the 3-meter long lizard took down live animals like deer by infecting them with bacteria from the rotting animal innards it gets stuck in its teeth. But by using digital imaging technologies, Bryan Fry from Melbourne has shown that Komodos actually inject their prey with poisonous venom!
By putting a virtual dragon skull through a digital crash test, Fry showed that its bite is relatively weak for a predator of its size – instead it’s adapted to resist strong pulling forces. This is a predator built to inflict massive wounds through a “grip and rip” style that involves biting lightly but tearing ferociously. The wounds provide a large open area for the dragon to inject its venom and Fry unquestionably showed that the dragons poison their prey.
Have you ever heard of anything more adorable?? If there is one characteristic I value in an animal, it is tricksyness. Oh Komodo dragon, be my pet!
I know that you would never poison ME, and that you prefer to eat dead things rather than living. I don’t blame you for being testy and lashing out, what with all that terrible stuff building up in your teeth. Komodo dragon, I will care for you and brush your teeth for you every night, and I will take you everywhere with me. You can sleep under my bed, or in it with me and we will cuddle. I will keep you warm and happy!