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Deadly Komodo dragon attack instils fear even from afar

March 24, 2009 |  1:23 pm

DragonI hike a lot and sometimes wish we had bears and lions and other dangerous animals in our hills to make the hikes more exciting.

But then I read stories about maulings and deaths attributed to such animals in other parts of the U.S. and the world, and I change my mind.

One beast I've never wanted anywhere in my midst was a Komodo dragon. Even watching these enormous lizards on TV gives me the creeps.

Now I see, while scanning websites for off-beat news, a story about two Komodo dragons that today mauled to death a fruit picker on the island of Komodo in Indonesia, which I've just crossed off my places-to-visit-someday list.

What's more, it's no freak accident. The world's largest lizards, which can measure up to 10 feet, weigh up to 150 pounds and boast sharp, bacteria-laden teeth, reportedly have launched several attacks on humans in recent months.

All I can say is thank goodness the most dangerous lizards in our hills are alligator lizards, which are small and relatively harmless, but still tooth-filled and kind of scary.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo of a captive Komodo dragon by Associated Press

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