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RE: Komodo Dragon venom -
Richard Travsky wrote:
"Komodo Dragons: Biology and Conservation" has a couple of pages or so on
bites. A prey that manages to escape still faces "debilitation or death"
caused by bacteria in the komodo's mouth.
That book was published in 2002. Science marches on: see
Bryan G. Fry et al (2009). A central role for venom in predation by Varanus
komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the extinct giant Varanus (Megalania)
prisca. PNAS Early Edition for the week of May 18, 2009.
And "Is there such a thing as a tamed python? ;)"
Snakes that are handled frequently may become used to it and have no trouble
distinguishing parts of humans from their habitual prey (unless they respond
mainly to chemical cues and you've recently been handling small mammals).
They are then, operationally, 'tame'.
Some just don't like it, become stressed and annoyed, and will bite or
constrict in defence: NOT tame. Most bites are 'feeding accidents'.
Only large pythons and boas (3m+) will seriously consider whole humans as
potential prey, and they'd have to be about 5m to successfully swallow one.
You don't handle those alone, or let them babysit, OK? I know it's hard for
some people to remember those rules. A certain Trojan prince was one of the
famous early cases.
Dr John D. Scanlon, FCD
Riversleigh Fossil Centre, Outback at Isa
"Get this $%#@* python off me!", said Tom laocoonically.