Wildlife Blog

Study Asserts Komodo Dragon Uses Venom to Kill Prey


Phil Noble/Reuters

A new study by Dr. Bryan Fry of the University of Melbourne argues that the Komodo dragon uses venomlike proteins to assist in a kill.  The Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, has intrigued scientists for years because of its uncanny ability to take down large prey.  In some cases, the prey would manage to flee the scene, only to die later.  The ongoing theory was that bacteria in the lizard’s serrated teeth infected its victims.

But Dr. Fry wasn’t convinced. After dissecting three lizards’ mouths, Fry and a team of researchers found a set of glands that  produced special proteins. One protein disabled clotting while the other relaxed artery walls. If injected into an animal, these proteins would cause the victim’s blood pressure to drop dramatically and the animal to lose consciousness.

For more info: NY Times

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