You may have heard that Komodo dragons are some of the largest, most powerful lizards in the world. Perhaps you’re planning a visit to Komodo National Park or one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, and you’re hoping to see one of these living monsters up close. But you want to make sure you know what to do if you end up getting too close. In this article, we’ll talk about how to survive a Komodo dragon attack as well as discuss what makes these lizards so deadly to begin with.
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How to Survive a Komodo Dragon Attack?
You are most likely to encounter a Komodo dragon while visiting Komodo National Park on the Indonesian island of Komodo. To protect yourself from these deadly lizards, follow these safety tips:
- Stay in a group: Komodo dragons are most likely to attack prey that is alone. As long as you are with at least one other person, your chances of getting attacked in the first place drop dramatically.
If you’re visiting Komodo National Park, consider joining a tour group or having a park ranger go with you. The larger your group, the better off you’ll be.
- Don’t leave the paths: Stick to the designated walking paths not only in Komodo National Park, but in any other area where you may encounter Komodo dragons. The paths tend to have much higher foot traffic, so the Komodo dragons are more likely to avoid them.
Even if you are attacked while staying on the path, you will be closer to park rangers and other people who can call for help or scare off the dragon.
- Keep a safe distance: If you see a Komodo dragon, don’t attempt to get close to it. Maintain a respectful distance that allows you to view the dragon without drawing its attention.
- Don’t make sudden movements: No matter how close or far you are in relation to the dragon, make sure your movements are slow, steady, and deliberate. Sudden movements can trigger a predatory response from any dragons in the area, and they may begin chasing you.
- Don’t draw attention to yourself: Don’t wear any strong-smelling cologne or perfume when you’re going to be near Komodo dragons, and be careful not to injure yourself. The smell of blood and other strong scents can attract a predatory response from Komodo dragons in the area, so women who are menstruating and anyone with open wounds are advised to avoid being anywhere near the dragons.
- Run fast: If a Komodo dragon begins chasing you, then you have to do whatever it takes to survive and get away. Run as fast as you can; Komodo dragons can run fast, but only for short periods of time.
If you have better endurance, you may be able to get away simply by outrunning them, but you shouldn’t slow down until you are certain you are far away and that the dragon has given up the pursuit.
- Run in a zigzag pattern: If you are tired or you know you don’t have the endurance needed to outrun a Komodo dragon, then begin running in a zig-zag pattern. Komodo dragons can only run in a straight line; if you are zig-zagging back and forth, they won’t be able to follow you because they can’t change directions that easily.
- Climb stairs, not trees: If you see any raised buildings or huts with stairs leading up to them, climb the stairs and wait for the dragon to pass by–Komodo dragons can’t climb stairs, so they won’t be able to follow you. Don’t attempt to escape by climbing trees, as young Komodo dragons spend much of their time in trees, so you may escape an adult on the ground only to encounter a juvenile up in a tree.
- Fight back: If you can’t get away from a Komodo dragon, then do what it takes to fight back. Hit it, kick it, puch at its eyes; if it attempts to bite down on you, pry its mouth open with your hands and attempt to shove it away from you.
- Get medical attention: Even if you didn’t receive any large or serious bite wounds, you should always seek medical attention after any encounter with a Komodo dragon. Even small bites can become infected and lead to problems with blood thinning and poisoning.
Check out this video for more information.
How Big is a Komodo Dragon Compared to a Human?
Adult Komodo dragons usually weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. Males are usually heavier than females.
Meanwhile, humans weigh on average between 130 and 190 pounds. So comparing straight averages, Komodo dragons generally weigh more than humans.
In terms of length, Komodo dragons average about 7.5 to 8.5 feet from snout to tail. Once again, males tend to be longer than females.
Humans, on average, are between 5.5 and 6.5 feet tall. So once again, the Komodo dragons have us beat.
Komodo dragons do have a natural fear of humans, so we have a slight advantage in that they may hesitate to attack in the first place. That said, Komodo dragons at Komodo National Park have made at least 31 attacks on humans since 1974, so these attacks do happen–and if a Komodo dragon is actively attacking, they have a definite size advantage.
What Happens if a Komodo Dragon Bites You?
According to the information available, 5 of the 31 people attacked by Komodo dragons since 1974 died from the attack. What is it about Komodo dragons that is so deadly?
The answer lies in the dragon’s bite.
A Komodo dragon’s bite can be deadly in a couple of ways.
For one thing, their mouths are full of bacteria from rotting flesh that gets stuck in their teeth. While this bacteria doesn’t harm them (they have a natural resistance), it can get into a person’s bloodstream when the dragon bites, causing blood poisoning.
Usually, however, the venom in a Komodo dragon’s bite causes death long before blood poisoning has a chance to take effect. According to an article published on The Guardian, the venom works in a couple of ways–by causing a drop in blood pressure and preventing the blood from clotting.
So, when a Komodo dragon bites you, it creates a wound that won’t close on its own and injects you with a poison that thins your blood, causing you to bleed out within a day or two (or sooner, depending on the size of the wound) if you don’t seek immediate medical attention. The sudden drop in blood pressure can make it difficult to seek medical attention, as it can send you into shock in a relatively short period of time.
If you are bitten by a Komodo dragon, it is absolutely imperative that you get away as quickly as possible and alert someone that you need help. The sooner you act, the better your chances of survival.
Komodo dragons are the world’s largest lizards; they are strong and powerful and possess a deadly bite. If you ever come in contact with a Komodo dragon, follow the tips above to protect yourself and keep from falling victim to these deadly lizards.