Hi, Mr. Nature here, with a warning to all you eco-tourists–don’t mess with apex predators.
In Komodo National Park, Indonesia, recently, a tourist from Singapore, eager to take really cool pictures, ignored warnings and ventured too close to the Komodo dragons while they were eating goats. He was so absorbed in picture-taking that he didn’t notice another lizard creeping up on him–and the dragon practically took his leg off ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4473224/Tourist-50-attacked-Komodo-dragon-Indonesia.html). Warning: news link contains gory pictures.
The Komodo dragon–“the world’s largest living lizard,” as Bob and Ray were so fond of saying–grows up to ten feet long and can weigh anywhere from 150 to 300 pounds. There aren’t many of them left in this world, and they’re strictly protected. They’re also a major tourist attraction.
In their little island world, though, these are the apex predators, top of the food chain; and because they’re protected, and have so little experience in dealing with human beings, they have no fear of man and will eat you if they can. If their size and strength don’t do you in, their bite is also venomous. Since 1974, five park visitors have died after being bitten.
My own monitor lizard, Spot, a savannah monitor only two feet long, once took exception to the medicine I was giving her and chomped down on my finger. Because she was only making a statement, and not seriously committed to fixing my wagon but good, I still have the finger. But her bite felt just like getting a car door slammed onto my hand. P.S.–The savannah monitor isn’t poisonous.
So… the next time someone invites you to swim with the sharks, or get up close and personal with a pride of lions… just say no. Top predators deserve respect!