ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) with saliva hanging from its mouth. This is the largest lizard in the world, reaching over 3 metres in length. It is endemic to the Indonesian island of Komodo and its neighbours, where it inhabits savannah and woodland. The Komodo dragon will eat any meat, including humans, but mainly feeds on large mammals such as deer and water buffalo. It lies in wait for its prey, which it ambushes, seizing it in its powerful jaws. The dragon's saliva is rich in bacteria, therefore if attacked prey escapes it is likely to die of blood poisoning within a couple of days. The dragon then tracks it down with its powerful sense of smell and eats the carrion.
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