Asia

Two hurt in attack by komodo dragon in Indonesia

  • 6 February 2013
  • From the section Asia
A komodo dragon
Image caption Komodo dragons normally feed on large mammals, smaller reptiles and birds

Two men have been injured in an attack by a komodo dragon in a wildlife park in eastern Indonesia, park officials say.

The 2m (7ft) long lizard attacked a park ranger in his office, then turned on another employee who tried to come to his aid.

Both suffered serious leg wounds and were being monitored in hospital.

Komodo dragons are the world's largest lizards, growing up to 3m long, with razor-sharp teeth and a venomous bite.

Previously it was thought the Komodo's mouth harboured virulent bacteria that quickly infected and subdued prey.

But in 2009 analysis by researchers of Komodo specimens showed a well-developed venom gland with ducts that lead to their large teeth.

The reptiles are unique to a small group of islands in eastern Indonesia.

They live on a diet of mainly large mammals, smaller reptiles and birds, but have been known to attack humans.

The animals are endangered in the wild and protected by international law - fewer than 4,000 are believed to be alive.

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