The Komodo Dragon is the world’s largest lizard, the only lizard known to attack creatures bigger than itself, and a fucking psychotic prehistoric predator that has dominated mammalian asses across the South Pacific for millions of years with horrifying freaky gigantic disease-riddled teeth that function as inch-long blood-soaked serrated syringes delivering accelerated, genetically-enhanced mutations of every miserable infectious bacteria from E. coli to staph to the shit that gives you urinary tract infections that make you want to claw your own dick off. Cranking in at nine feet long, growing between 200 and 550 fucking pounds, and hailing from the same part of the world that brought you the unstoppable badassitude of The Raid: Redemption, Komodo Dragon bites have a 90% kill rate and can bring down everything from goats to 1300-pound motherfucking water buffaloes. They’re awesome swimmers, can outrun wild fucking deer over short distances on land, routinely coldcock rampaging warthogs unconscious by swinging their tails like a two-by-four, are maddeningly-fucking impossible to kill in Far Cry 3, and a helpful pair of them once helped James Bond escape from the clutches of some random ambiguous criminal organization that couldn’t find a better hideout than a high-end Chinese restaurant – because if there’s one thing Komodo Dragons love more than devouring the entrails of their recently-slain, disease-riddled prey, it’s sneak-attack eating bad guys in the name of justice and letting spree-killing MI6 agents springboard off their backs to safety like an alcoholic Mario Brother.
The first thing you’ll notice about Komodo Dragons is that they honestly look pretty much nothing like the kind of bipedal winged red-scaled fuckers you’d expect to be straight-up fragging dipshit D&D Paladins with a 40-foot face full of 20d10 flame (Reflex half). The Indonesians call these varmints Ora, meaning “land crocodile”, which is a little better, but still doesn't quite capture it. "Death Gecko" maybe? "Murdersaurus Rex"? I don't know. Either way, these literally-cold-blooded-killers live on the four southeastern islands of Indonesia – Flora, Gili Motang, Rinca, and of course Komodo, a hot monsoon jungle island five times the size of Manhattan and packed full of ravenous human-murdering reptilian dinosaurs. They were first discovered by the Dutch over a hundred years ago, back in what they call the "good old days" when the Dutch were still colonizing islands and exploiting the fuck out them like a maladjusted teenager rocking a turn-based strategy game. In 1926 an expedition under intrepid old-timey pith-helmet-wearing explorer W. Douglas Burden was dispatched to the island to investigate, and tjeu brought back a couple live Dragons to be displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Thhe trip was so full of danger, excitment, giant monsters, and over-the-top insanity that fucking the movie King Kong was inspired by this expedition. I’m not making this up.
Nowadays most of Komodo Island is a touristy national park, which is great for preservation efforts of these prehistoric predators (an estimated 3000-6000 remain in the wild, plus another 200 or so in captivity), but there still have been roughly twenty verified cases where Komodo Dragons killed people and devoured most of their corpses... so don’t go thinking these suckers are wussbags and went soft just because they’re an endangered species now or something. Recent research suggests that the Dragons may have originally existed in Australia as well, which makes sense because it’s fucking Australia, but I guess they don’t have a lot of patriotism for the Old Country anymore because one of them almost killed the Crocodile Hunter a few years ago. Komodo Island residents build their houses on stilts for a reason, folks.
Komodo Dragons are short, low to the ground, and way better at stealth and camouflage than you’d expect for a fucking nine-foot-long carnivorous reptile with an armored hide and a forked tongue the size of Shaquille O'Neal's Reeboks. An ambush predator by nature, the Komodo Dragon uses its badass gigantic yellow Gene Simmons forked tongue to detect its prey, and it’s such a hardcore hunter that it can sense blood from almost seven miles away. That's like Great White Shark range, and this guy does it through the friggin' air. If there’s no already-dead stuff laying around ready to be eaten (Komodos love leftovers), a Komodo Dragon will lay down in a thick bush, switch on Active Camouflage, and wait for some dumb idiot mammal to wander into its crosshairs. Once its got target lock (typically at around 300 meters), a Komodo Dragon will fucking stampede out of the bush at up to 13 miles an hour and rip snout-first into its prey with a mouth full of curved, backwards-facing serrated teeth that clamp down so hard they can crush bones and rip through flesh. Biting down with an insane 500-600 psi of force (human incisors bite at about 55 psi, fyi), the Komodo Dragon then twists his head and rips at the flesh, trying to create the biggest and most awesomely-gory wound possible. He also has gigantic, powerful claws and a muscle dude tail that hits with the force of a baseball bat and can knock down wild deer, warthogs, and other creatures that would probably kick most humans' asses in real life hand-to-hand combat. Oh, and if you had any questions about the speed of these things, there’s an insane television game show clip called Komodo Dragon Chasing Japanese Woman that should terrify the hell out of you for a large number of reasons (at the time of this writing, the top comment on the video is just "god damn it, japan"). Sure, these guys look hilarious when they run, but that Lurch-stomp gets a lot less stupid-looking when it’s propelling a mouth full of 60+ serrated teeth directly at your balls.
Komodo Dragons eat deer, birds, snakes, crabs, pigs, water buffalo, wild horses, and smaller Komodo Dragons, and have also been known to dig recently-dead humans out of shallow graves to feast on their corpses like some kind of fucked-up Satanic horror movie antagonist. Scientists think they may have also hunted a now-extinct species of elephant called the Stegodon that was goddamned ten feet tall and was also a fucking Elephant with tusks and armored hides and all of the other elephant things. Komodo Dragons only need one pound of food per day to survive, but these cold-blooded meat grinders can rip through 5.5 pounds of beef every minute, and devour 90% of their kills (the only thing they leave is the stomach, because these suckers are so insanely carniverous they don't want to eat the plant material in their prey's stomach). Komodos can also unhinge their jaw like a snake and open their mouths wide enough to swallow goats whole. Sometimes, if the food isn’t going down their throat fast enough, Dragons will ram the food (still in its mouth) into a tree to jam it down the gullet faster. This is probably the most terrifying thing I can think of. Once everything’s devoured, they just barf up a mass of horns, hair, and teeth and get on their way.
Another fun, horrifying fact about Komodo Dragons is that their bite contains a weird anti-coagulant venom that prevents wounds from healing, and their mouths are laced with 57 acceleratedly-virulent strains of bacteria, including e. coli, staph, and the bacterias that cause urinary tract infections and sepsis. So, basically, if the flesh-ripping doesn’t kill you, the disease will. It's really just a matter of time. When a Komodo Dragon attacks its prey, 70% of its victims are dead in minutes. 20% are dead within hours. Only 10% survive the bite-poison-disease combo.
Now, here’s something awesome about this – a Komodo Dragon’s teeth works basically the same way as Wolverine’s claws. Most of the time, its teeth are receded back into the gums, making the Komodo Dragon look like a really surprised old man whenever it opens its mouth. Then, when it’s about to bite, the teeth shoot out through the gums like a cat’s fucking claws. After festering inside the gingival tissue all day, building up disease, the teeth break the skin, get covered in blood, and then immediately inject a soccer cleat of horrible disease-ridden saw-like bloody teeth into its potential prey, delivering an array of horrible bacteria that all (for some reason we can’t quite figure out) multiply at like ten times the normal growth rate of these diseases. This baffles scientists so much that some labs are studying Komodo Dragon saliva in the hopes that they might be able to reverse-engineer that shit into the cure for cancer or other diseases. The Komodo Dragon also naturally injects its venom into the wound, causing it to bleed without healing, which further increases the chance of infection. There’s a reason the Discovery Channel documentary on these fuckers is just called Kills with One Bite.
Let me try to see if I can illustrate this process for you a little better.
Komodo Dragon society works kind of like Dudebro society, in that there’s usually one Alpha who bangs all the chicks and if anyone fucks with him he will bodyslam your ass into submission and then pour beer on you. Komodo Dragon wrestling is fucking awesome, because these two gigantic 9-foot monsters stand up on their back legs, slapfight with their little T-Rex arms, scratch, claw, bite, and seriously suplex each other to the turf WWE style until someone gets pinned. Once you're pinned, you gotta give up, otherwise the bigger dudebro dragon kills you and eats you. To protect themselves from their only natural predator (other Komodo Dragons), the Dragon has a thick set of overlapping scales that are reinforced with bone deposits, layed out in an interlacing pattern so that when hit with a claw or bite, it absorbs the hit in a style that is very similar to medieval chain mail armor.
When it’s time to get freaky, Komodo Dragons make out by touching their tongues together like horny teenagers, and (also like teenagers), according to one source I read, mating “doesn’t last long and is over quickly,” which sounds pretty anti-climactic and probably explains why some female Komodos prefer to save themselves the trouble and fertilize their eggs asexually (scientists have no idea how these creatures immaculately conceive, but whatever). Females don’t bother building nests or shit either, they just climb up and leave their eggs in these huge nests that are constantly being left behind by some kind of weird species of gigantic Indonesian chicken that apparently also lives on Komodo Island. The female will conquer the nest, dig a couple fake tunnels to trick egg-eating animals, and then deposit between 15 and 30 eggs that are roughly the size of a grapefruit. Komodos are kind of cute as babies, but as soon as they’re born they have to run away and climb up the closest tree before another Komodo wolfs them down because it’s fucking survival of the fittest out here, fools. Once the baby grows to about 4 feet he gets too fat to climb and has to live on the ground like everyone else.
Now, prepare to be horrified by more pictures of a real-life dinosaur that packs more infectious death than a weapons-grade CDC petri dish.
Woodland Park Zoo
An All-Purpose Killing Machine
Infamous Komodo Dragon Attacks
San Diego Zoo