After almost 10 hours lost at sea, a group of scuba divers washed up to a mysterious island. Little did they know that they had landed on Rinca Island, an Indonesian island home to about 1,300 komodo dragons. It didn’t take long for the hungry dragons to surround them and start going in for the kill.
The only thing the divers had to defend themselves with was the equipment on their backs. Would that be enough to fight off this army of giant lizards?
Komodo dragons are the largest living lizards. They can grow up to 3 m (10 ft) long and weigh 70 kg (154 lb).
Komodos have venom glands in their jaws that cause shock through hemorrhaging, spasms and even paralysis in their prey. Komodos can go without food for weeks, then have a feeding frenzy and eat 80% of their weight.
Today we’ll tell you the three most incredible stories of people who came face-to-face with these deadly predators and refused to be part of their giant feasts.
How did one dragon attack a man inside his office? What is the most important rule on Komodo Island? And how far away can Komodo dragons smell blood?
3. Fatal distraction
Given these dragons’ massive size, you’d think that they’d be easy to spot and escape from. But in this story, that wasn’t the case. Loh Lee Aik was visiting Komodo Island in May 2007. That was an especially hazardous time as the dragons’ mating season runs from May to August, and the creatures are particularly aggressive. Loh stayed for a few days in the village, where he was perfectly safe. Then he decided to take his vacay to the next level and went searching for dragons to photograph.
On his hike, Loh found the perfect scene to shoot. A group of Komodos was devouring a goat. He was so mesmerized by the event that he failed to see another lizard approaching him. The beast pounced on his leg. Loh quickly realized that he had broken the most important rule on Komodo Island, always stay near a park ranger. The tourist needed treatment at a nearby hospital, where doctors treated the bites caused by the venomous animal. If you think Loh’s experience was extreme, wait till you hear our number one story.
Number 2. Welcome to Dragon Country
In 2008, Elena Neradairen and the group she was diving with got swept out to sea by a dangerous riptide. They were relieved to land on an island until they found it was Komodo dragons’ home turf. Neradairen got targeted for the first attack. An enormous lizard kept trying to bite her. The lizard had its eyes on her feet and was determined to make her its dinner. Elena smacked the deadly creature in the head with a diving belt, and her companions grabbed rocks and threw them at the dragon’s head.
Although they successfully scared it off, that was just the beginning of two days of the ancient lizards traumatizing them. Eating raw shellfish they found on the beach also helped them to survive. Luckily an Indonesian rescue crew saw the group’s emergency floats on the rocks, found the divers, and took them to a hospital on a nearby island. The group rehydrated and recovered from the shock. While it might not surprise you to find deadly creatures in the wild, what about in your office? Well, you’ll have to see our next story.
1. A bloody business
It was a quiet morning for Mr. Maen, a park ranger on Komodo National Park. He went to his office as usual and noticed that he was the only guide in the room. While the others were in the cafeteria, Maen prepared to do some work. But he couldn’t shake off the feeling that he wasn’t alone. When he looked under his desk, he saw a hungry dragon at his feet. Maen knew that slowly backing away from the animal was the best option to prevent an attack, but unfortunately, panic got the best of him. He moved away too fast.
The motion-sensitive carnivore dug its knife-sharp teeth into the guide’s leg. He tried to open its mouth, but it clamped its jaws shut. Eventually, he wrestled the dragon’s mouth open, but one arm got sliced open in the process. As Maen shouted in pain, most of his coworkers could not hear him. Only one came to investigate and then got the others. But a bunch of other Komodos, which can smell blood from 9.6 km (6 mi) away, came too. A few of Maen’s colleagues helped him escape from the hungry reptile while others battled outside to fend off the other aggressive lizards.
The men managed to get their badly hurt colleague through the dragons and to a local hospital. But his injuries were so severe that he had to be flown to a hospital on Bali Island for treatment. These people survived Komodo dragon attacks, but that’s just one type of lethal lizard. Small or massive, some other lizards are dangerous and poisonous too. But which ones are they?
- “Komodo dragon attacks terrorize Indonesia villages” ABC News. Associated Press. 2009.
- “Indonesian, 83, Survives Komodo Dragon Attack”.DNews. 2013
- “Komodo Dragon Attacks Worker at ‘Jurassic Park’ Resort”. Vice.Hastanto, Ikhwan. 2020.
- “Komodo dragon attacks tourist in Indonesia”.Phys.org. 2017.
- “Komodo Dragon Bites Tourist in First Attack on Humans in Five Years”.Ross, Eleanor. 2017.