Komodo Dragon Saliva Venom Facts?

Need to know some facts. The last time I saw the Komodo dragon in the news, it was for an attack on a Indonesian fisherman, who died of blood loss before his friends could get him to a hospital.

I'm doing a paper for school on Komodo Dragon's. I was getting to the part about how their saliva is so deadly because it has lots of venom and can kill you instantly.
What are some facts about the venom in the Komodo Dragon saliva?

What color is the saliva of the Komodo dragon? Why is a komodo dragons saliva so deadly? What type of venom does the saliva have?

asked by Parker in Other - Pets & Animals | 7139 views | 03-22-2010 at 05:16 AM

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is a species of lizard that inhabits the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang in Indonesia.

The Komodo dragons were probably discovered as early as the 2nd century AD. Although the Komodo dragon doesn't breath fire, it's mouth contains death. 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 provide an ideal culture for the bacteria. These make the dragon's breath quite foul! A Komodo's bite causes profuse bleeding 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 infected and turn septic (septicemia). The Komodo dragon tracks the weakened animal, harassing it until the animal finally dies.

Picture of a Komodo Dragon.

Komodo Dragon saliva

As the dominant predators on the handful of islands they inhabit, they will eat almost anything, including carrion, deer, pigs, smaller dragons, and even large water buffalo and humans. When hunting, Komodo dragons rely on camouflage and patience, lying in wait for passing prey. When a victim ambles by, the dragon springs, using its powerful legs, sharp claws and serrated, shark-like teeth to eviscerate its prey.

The evolution of the Komodo Dragon makes for interesting reading. As with all modern reptiles, with the exception of turtles, the Komodo Dragon is a distant descendant of the subclass Diapsida that emerged some 300 million years ago. Around 250 million years ago, Diapsids divided into Archosaurs, the descendents of the Dinosaurs, and Lepidosaurs, the precursors to snakes and lizards. In somewhat of a simplification, Dinosaurs stood more upright and Archosaurs retained a sprawled posture. Snakes and Lizards are not the descendants of Dinosaurs, as many people assume, that path led in the long sweep of history to modern day birds that would emerge only some 60 million years ago.

It was previously thought that only two lizard species, the Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) and the beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum) were venomous. However, a study by the same team of researchers published in 2006, showed that other lizard species such as the lace monitor (Varanus varius) and the bearded dragon (Pogona barbata) may also possess mild venom.

But what happens if a Komodo takes a bite out of its prey, and the victim manages to get away? Here lies the real secret of a Komodo's hunting success. If a prey animals survives the dragon's initial attack, it will most likely die of infection within a few days. As a bonus to help the Komodo find its long-lost victim, it can smell a dead animal more than five miles away (especially if the wind is right!) by using its sensitive tongue to "sniff" the air currents.

Komodo dragons are the largest lizards in the world. They can reach up to 10 feet in length and can weigh 150-300 pounds. Adult komodos are mostly black, green or gray with patches of yellow-brown or white.

answered by Dana | 03-22-2010 at 05:22 AM

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