This member of the monitor lizard family, is probably the nearest thing you will find to a dinosaur. It can grow as large as 10 feet long and weight 150 lb. Fortunately, you are not likely to come across one in the United States, or indeed Britain, unless you are close to a nuclear facility.
Komodo dragons are fun at the zoo (Bodlina)
Attacks on humans are documented but rare. You are in more danger from a croc. Still you are well advised not to shoot it the bird. The Komodo dragon is able to see as far away as 980 feet.
The Komodo dragon uses its tongue to smell and is a voracious eater. Although they eat mostly carrion, they will sneak up to prey and attack. They can hone in on the smell of a dead or dying animal from a distance of six miles. It's a good idea not to die anywhere near a Komodo dragon.
If you are unwise enough to do lunch with a Komodo, avoid anywhere with Michelin stars. In fact there is probably nowhere you could take them, apart from Applebee's.
"Komodo dragons eat by tearing large chunks of flesh and swallowing them whole while holding the carcass down with their forelegs. For smaller prey up to the size of a goat, their loosely articulated jaws, flexible skulls, and expandable stomachs allow them to swallow prey whole," states Wikipedia. They can swallow 80 percent of their body weight in one sitting and like to cover their meal in the red saliva that is often blood-tinged, because their teeth are almost completely covered by gingival tissue that is naturally lacerated during feeding.
Mating is also a less than pleasant affair. The males fight for the females, frequently vomiting and defecating as the ground is prepared for the fight.
"The winner of the fight will then flick his long tongue at the female to gain information about her receptivity," states Wikipedia.
Perhaps vexed that he didn't say it with flowers - merely defecation and chucking up - the female will attack the male with her claws during mating.
The whole Komodo thing really makes me think wistfully of donkeys. Komodos don't even make good handbags, apparently.
Useless Fact About the Komodo Dragon
Phil Bronstein, the former husband of Casino star Sharon Stone, was bitten on the foot by one at Los Angeles zoo. The keeper had told him to take off his white shoes and socks, because they could excite the animal as they were the same color as the white rats that were lunch. Bronstein had to have several tendons in his foot surgically reattached.
What Not to Say to a Komodo Dragon
Do you want me to take my shoes off?