The Jakarta Globe, February 19, 2013
A Komodo dragon mauled a tour guide in Komodo National Park on Tuesday, just two weeks after a previous attack there by one of the giant lizards.
The reptile, over two meters long, appeared when the guide passed its lair while he was trekking with four Indonesian visitors to Rinca island — one of two Komodo-inhabited islands frequently visited by tourists.
“He tried to protect himself with a stick but the Komodo was stronger and faster than him, and he was bitten on his right calf,” the administrative official of Komodo National Park, Heru Rudiharto, told AFP by telephone.
The 25-year-old guide named Abdurahman was taken to hospital on the nearby island of Flores where his wounds were being stitched, Stefanus Jalak, a colleague who accompanied him, told AFP.
Until recently, Komodos were believed to hunt with a “bite and wait” strategy — using toxic bacteria in their saliva to weaken or kill their prey before descending in numbers to feast.
But recent research found that the dragons’ jaws have highly sophisticated poison glands that can cause paralysis, spasms and shock through hemorrhaging.
They are native to several Indonesian islands and are considered a vulnerable species, with only a few thousand left in the world. Their normal diet consists of large mammals, reptiles and birds.
Komodos, the world’s largest monitor lizards, can grow up to three meters and typically weigh to 70 kilograms.
Earlier this month one attacked two park employees, leaving them hospitalized with serious injuries.
A 50-year-old ranger was sitting at his desk at the Rinca island front office, where tourists usually check in, when the two-meter-long lizard sneaked into his room.
Another employee, aged 35, heard the ranger scream and quickly ran to his aid but the lizard also attacked him and bit his leg.